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Red Wings go two-up over Pens

VALTTERI Filppula and Jonathan Ericsson scored in the second period as the Detroit Red Wings opened a two-game lead over Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals for the second year in a row, winning 3-1 in Game 2 on Sunday.

Playoffs scoring leader Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh its first lead of the series by scoring on a powerplay late in the first, but the frustrated Penguins produced no more offense as star Sidney Crosby was shut out again. Crosby has no points in the series.

Just as they did last year in winning the title for the 11th time and fourth in 11 seasons, the Red Wings took the first two games from the Penguins at home. This year posed a new challenge, sweeping a pair on consecutive nights three days after finishing the Western Conference finals.

"It's hurt us. Don't kid yourself," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we were exhausted. It's amazing what will does for you."

Rookie defenseman Ericsson, who watched the Western Conference finale on Wednesday in the dressing room hours after having his appendix removed, tied it with a long slap shot from inside the blue line at 4:21 of the second period.

"Just a couple years ago, it took people a month to recover," the 25-year-old Ericsson said. "It took me three days."

Filppula put the Red Wings ahead about six minutes later with a backhander off a rebound and Justin Abdelkader scored early in the third, just as he did in Detroit's 3-1 victory in Game 1. Abdelkader had no previous NHL goals.

Game 3 is tomorrow in Pittsburgh, and the odds favor the Red Wings' quest to become the NHL's first repeat champion since they did it in 1997-1998. Teams that win Games 1 and 2 at home have won the Cup 31 of 32 times.

Frustration boiled over for Pittsburgh with 18.2 seconds left, when Max Talbot stuck his stick in goalie Chris Osgood's midsection after he made his 31st save. That led to a fight between Malkin and Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg that left both players' jerseys torn on the ice.

Osgood outplayed Marc-Andre Fleury again in earning his 73rd NHL playoff victory, eighth on the career list.


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