Red Wings open series with Flames with convincing 4-1 victory

Detroit led 4-0 by the middle of the second – on Pavel Datsyuk’s and Mathieu Schneider’s goals – giving goaltender Dominik Hasek more than enough support. Game 2 is here Sunday.

The Red Wings are determined to use toughness, depth and improved goaltending to avoid the early playoff exits that have haunted them in recent years.

So far, so good.

The Western Conference’s top-seeded team set the tone in the opening minutes when Schneider knocked down Matthew Lombardi, landing the first big hit of the game. A few minutes later, Filppula’s goal ended a beautiful, end-to-end play.

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Then the Red Wings scored an ugly, playoff-type goal they’ve often failed to produce during under-achieving postseasons.

Lidstrom’s shot from between the circles was to the left of the net, but it bounced off Brad Stuart and past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Stuart slumped his shoulders and tilted his head back, looking up to the rafters where Detroit’s 10 Stanley Cup banners hang.

Calgary avoided a shutout with 5:05 left, when Alex Tanguay scored.