Lidstrom and Detroit’s blanketing defence held Pittsburgh to 13 shots, Johan Franzen scored the pivotal goal off a rebound in the first period and the Red Wings bounced back from an opening-game loss to beat the Penguins 2-0 Saturday night.
Dominik Hasek had one of the easiest of his 69 career shutouts, facing only seven shots over the final two periods as last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners played their second excellent defensive game in a row. The Red Wings held Vancouver to 17 shots Thursday, but lost 3-1 in Lidstrom’s first game since succeeding the retired Yzerman as captain.
“I can’t say it’s the easiest because last year I had one with 12 shots (against Montreal),” said Hasek, back for his second turn with Detroit after spending last season with Ottawa. “But we played very well on defence. I had to stay sharp because it was only 1-0 for 59 minutes and one goal can mean everything.”
The Red Wings’ strategy was simple: make sure every Penguins player was defended when he had the puck and blanket Penguins star Sidney Crosby with Lidstrom, who has won four of the last five Norris Trophies as the NHL’s premier defenceman. Crosby did not get a shot off in the first two periods and had only one in 22 minutes, 42 seconds of playing time.
“They backchecked well, and we were probably guilty of not shooting the puck a couple of times,” Crosby said. “When you’re playing against a good team and you get the puck into the shooting areas, you have to get some shots on net.”
Kris Draper scored the other Red Wings goal with 1:21 remaining on a wrist shot from the right circle.
“Whenever you lose a game like we did, you want to go out to the next game and do all the little things well,” Franzen said. “That’s exactly what we did.”
The Penguins, trying to win their first two games at home to start a season for the first time in 10 years, did almost nothing offensively following a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday – their first opening-game win since 1999.
Pittsburgh was limited to one shot in the second period, by rookie Chris Thorburn, and didn’t get a shot in the third until 4 1/2 minutes into the period. The team record for fewest shots in a period is none, against the Sharks in the third period of a 4-1 victory on Nov. 23, 2002, and in a game is 11, on five occasions.
“They’ve had a lot of guys in that system for a long time and know how to play, and they made it tough on us,” forward Mark Recchi said. “We had some opportunities and we missed the net. We didn’t play our best game and we were not as sharp as we were (Thursday).”
Crosby did make several excellent passes that teammates could not convert into goals, with Josef Melichar missing a wide-open net halfway though the third period and the Penguins pressing to tie.
“We did have some breakdowns but, when we did, Dominik was there for us,” Draper said. “That’s what you need your goalie for, and he came up big for us.”
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played another strong game, following up a 40-save performance against Philadelphia by turning aside 24 of 26 shots.
The former No. 1 draft pick had no chance on Franzen’s goal 6 minutes into the game, as defenceman Rob Scuderi left Franzen undefended at the side of the net for a backhander off the rebound of Jason Williams’ 45-foot shot. Pavel Datsyuk won a faceoff in the offensive zone against 18-year-old Penguins rookie Jordan Staal to set up Williams’ shot.
“The puck came to my stick and I had an open net, it was pretty easy on my part,” Franzen said.
Pittsburgh had two power-play chances in the first period but couldn’t convert and was 0-for-4 overall with the man advantage, twice failing to score when the normally disciplined Red Wings were penalized for too many men on the ice.
Notes: Detroit was 0-for-2 on the power play and is 0-for-11 in two games. … Even with the victory, Hasek’s record against the Penguins – 14-16-5 – remains one of his worst against any opponent. … Pittsburgh has lost 10 of 11 against Western Conference teams the last two seasons. … The Red Wings have won five of their last six against Pittsburgh. The teams don’t play again this season.