5-10-08 -- For nearly 60 minutes, the story was the Detroit Red Wings winning without their hottest player.
The fracas in the final seconds that spilled into the postgame, though, will be what people are talking about and might lead to suspensions.
Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg scored first-period goals to help make up for the loss of Johan Franzen and Detroit held on for a 2-1 win Saturday night over the Dallas Stars and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The game ended in ugly fashion as Chris Osgood used the handle of his stick to poke at Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro when he skated past the net. Ribeiro then slashed Osgood across the chest from behind the net.
Following some scuffling, Ribeiro was called for a match penalty and Osgood wasn’t penalized.
“Even if I did butt-end him, it was an accident,” Osgood said. “I was trying to protect our best player, Nick Lidstrom, so he didn’t get run.”
Ribeiro’s equipment was in the dressing room after the game, but he wasn’t around for interviews.
After watching a replay, Dallas coach Dave Tippett blamed Osgood for the fracas.
“Ribeiro is actually letting up on the guy and Osgood just sticks his stick out and butt-ends him,” Tippett said. “Ribeiro is not going to turn around and chop the goalie like that without having something happening.
“I looked at it and said, `What’s he doing?’ until I went in and looked at the tape.”
Tippett was asked if he expected the NHL to suspend Osgood.
“That’s for the higher powers to figure out,” Tippett said.
Dallas goaltender Marty Turco acknowledged he didn’t see the play as it happened, but was disgusted by what his teammates told him.
“A butt-end to somebody’s face at any time is pretty gutless,” Turco said. “Just sticking your knob out there is a dangerous play.
“It’s something our game doesn’t need if that did happen.”
Osgood said even if he did hit Ribeiro, his reaction was excessive.
“I don’t think it justifies a two-hander over the top of the net,” Osgood said.
Teammate Kris Draper agreed.
“Something like that, that’s right out of “Slap Shot.” It’s literally intent to injure,” Draper said. “I couldn’t believe it when he did it.”
Heated emotions will likely carry over into Game 3 on Monday night in Dallas.
The ending at Joe Louis Arena overshadowed an accomplishment for the NHL’s top-seeded team.
The Red Wings scratched Franzen from the lineup, saying he would miss the following game because of concussion-like symptoms. He’s had recurring headaches since early in the previous series.
“I was joking around with him and I said, `I don’t know, whatever wires are crossed, let’s keep them crossed,”’ Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Franzen has scored an NHL-high 27 times since March 2, a 27-game roll that includes a league-high and franchise-record 12 goals in the postseason. He is the first player to score 12 playoff goals since Rob Brind’Amour for Carolina in 2006.
The player known as Mule matched a team playoff record with a goal in the series-opening win over Dallas, extending his scoring streak to five games.
The fifth-seeded Stars skated much harder than they did in the opener, perhaps because they were more rested after needing a fourth overtime Monday morning to eliminate the Sharks, and Stephane Robidas tied it at 1 midway through the first period.
Robidas caught Osgood flat-footed, getting a shot past him to tie the game for the first time in the series at 10:41 of the first period.
But the Stars struggled to get shots to or past Osgood, who needed to make just 17 saves because his teammates blocked countless pucks with their sticks, skates and body parts.
Osgood improved to 8-0 as a starter in the playoffs this season.
Turco fell to 0-9-2 in the NHL at Joe Louis Arena after making 32 saves.
“We’ve got to win a game here to win this series,” Turco said.
Detroit needed help offensively with Franzen out and got it from an unlikely source early in the game.
Helm sped down the left side of the ice, putting himself in perfect position to score off Jiri Hudler’s cross-ice pass. The fourth-line center scored his first goal nearly two months after his NHL debut.
Turco and the Stars were too worried about net-front pest Tomas Holmstrom on the go-ahead goal.
After Turco tried to push Holmstrom away and a teammate was engaged with him, Zetterberg blasted a shot into the net as Turco was late getting down and to the left to stop late in the first.
Stars F Jere Lehtinen was sent off the ice because of a leg injury and Tippett said he’s day to day. … There were small pockets of empty seats in most sections in both the upper and lower bowl just as has been the case throughout the playoffs. … The Stars continue to be without C Stu Barnes (concussion-like symptoms) and D Philippe Boucher (hip). …Dan Cleary took Franzen’s spot, centering the second line, and Darren McCarty played after being a healthy scratch in Game 1.