Facing the stingiest of hosts in the Detroit Red Wings, the Dallas Stars failed to capitalize on the few chances they did have in their 2-1 Game 2 loss at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.
All the game's scoring took place in the first period as rookie forward Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg each notched goals for Detroit, which has beaten Dallas in 10 straight playoff games at home.
Defenceman Stephane Robidas replied for the Stars on the power play, the only goal with the man advantage for Dallas in six opportunities on Saturday.
Chris Osgood had another quiet night at the office, but was sharp when it mattered. The goaltender pushed his playoff record to a perfect 8-0 by making 17 saves in the Detroit win.
"I always said if I have 40 [shots] great, if I have 20 that's fine too," Osgood told CBCSports after the win. "I play the game as it comes and I relish making big saves when I have to."
Osgood was also involved in an incident with Mike Ribeiro as the game ended. The goaltender used the handle of his stick to poke at the Dallas forward when he skated past the net.
Ribeiro responded with a slash across Osgood's chest area as the third period concluded — resulting in a match penalty. Osgood wasn't penalized.
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."
The trainers rushed onto the ice to tend to the fallen goalie, but he eventually was able to get up and join his teammates on the way to the dressing room.
"I do have a lot of padding up there but it got me in the side where I didn't have much," he said of the Ribeiro slash. "It did hurt a bit.
"It was kind of a full swing right to the side. But I'll be fine, I'm sure. A little sore, but I'll be fine."
Dallas forward Steve Ott also got involved in some extracurricular activity near the end of the game — earning a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct penalty for going after Red Wings veteran Kris Draper from behind and punching the centre in the head.
"I'm fine with that," Draper said of the Ott assault. "He threw a punch at me. No harm done. You get up and you go. But something like [the slash on Osgood], that's right out of Slap Shot. [Ribeiro] just literally... intent to injure on our best player. I couldn't believe it when he did it."
The NHL's discipline czar, Colin Campbell, was in attendance and had a first-hand view of the late-game antics.
"It's an intense series," said Draper. "There's a lot on the line and it's physical but... that's just crossing the line.
"The league's been great all year about stepping in and taking care of this stuff. If it's not a goalie and he two-hands, it could hit a player in the throat, face, teeth, whatever. You kind of shake your head at what he was thinking. It's up to the league to step in and do what they have to do."
Marty Turco was considerably busier in the Dallas net, stopping 32 shots but ultimately had to settle for his 11th straight winless effort at Joe Louis Arena.
"We played a lot better," Turco said. "We've got no doubt we can win some hockey games at home. We're disappointed we're down 2-0, but it'll be a totally different atmosphere when we get home."
The Red Wings, winners of eight consecutive playoff games, pushed their series lead to 2-0 without the services of leading playoff scorer Johan Franzen, who sat out Game 2 with concussion-like symptoms.
The Swede, who has scored a league-high 27 goals since March 2, will also sit for Game 3.
"I was joking around with him and I said, 'I don't know, whatever wires are crossed, let's keep them crossed,"' Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said.
Rookie opens scoring for Wings
Helm, a March call-up from Detroit's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich., scored his first career playoff goal at 5:56 of the first.
A Dallas turnover in the neutral zone allowed Jiri Hudler to pick up the puck and skate up the middle of the Stars' zone. Hudler fed a streaking Helm on his left wing and the rookie wired a bullet of a wrist shot from the circle over Turco's left shoulder for a 1-0 Dallas lead.
The Stars had a slew of chances in the first period, but they failed to get quality shots on net. Even a four-on-one opportunity went for naught as over-passing resulted in a shot wide of Osgood's net.
"Tonight I thought Dallas had a lot of chances in the first," Osgood told CBCSports. "They missed the net quite a bit tonight. More than they have in previous times I've played against them."
But with Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom serving a two-minute delay of game minor after shooting the puck over the glass, Robidas tied the game with his second goal of the playoffs.
The Dallas defenceman took a cross-ice feed from from Ribeiro and one-timed it past Osgood, who appeared to be partially screened by teammate Chris Chelios.
Detroit appeared to pull ahead shortly after that as Pavel Datsyuk scored with 7:30 remaining in the first. But referee Marc Joannette waived it off after ruling the play dead because of a hand pass from Zetterberg.
But Zetterberg managed to redeem himself at 15:13 with the Red Wings on the power play.
With Sergei Zubov in the box for hooking, Zetterberg took a pass from Datsyuk near the top of the left circle and one-timed it on net.
The puck appeared to deflect off the stick of Mike Modano and changed direction just enough to elude Turco, who also had his hands full with Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom parked near his crease.
Neither team could crack the scoreboard the rest of the way, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of opportunities.
Detroit took five minor penalties in the second period compared to just three for Dallas, but neither team could capitalize with the man advantage.
"Ozzie made some big saves again for us," said Lidstrom. "We were short-handed four times in the second period but we played real well in our own end.
"We kept them to the outside and didn't give them chances in front of our net."
One of those penalties saw Turco eventually retaliate against Holmstrom with a slash for continually taking up real estate in the Dallas crease.
"I don't think he's extremely frustrated," Ott told CBCSports during the second intermission. "He just wants to battle for his chances down there."
The Red Wings poured it on in the third by continuing to dominate the Stars in the faceoff circle and forcing low-quality shots from the outside.
Detroit went on to outshoot Dallas 13-6 in the final period, which ended Ribeiro's slash on Osgood and Ott's punch to Draper.