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Published: Tuesday, 5/13/2008

Datsyuk sparks Red Wings past Stars

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS - Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings got the best retaliation against Mike Ribeiro and the Dallas Stars - a record-setting victory.

Datsyuk scored twice in the first period then again with 2:41 left, and the Red Wings beat the Stars 5-2 last night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

This was Detroit's ninth straight win, its most ever in a single postseason and the longest in the NHL since Montreal won 11 in a row in 1993. More importantly, the Red Wings will go into Game 4 tomorrow night with the chance to skate into the Stanley Cup finals for the fourth time in 11 seasons.

Datsyuk's first career hat trick overshadowed important goals by his teammates. Jiri Hudler converted a breakaway in the second period and Henrik Zetterberg scored a short-handed goal early in the third period for a daunting two-goal lead. Zetterberg also had the primary assist on two of Datsyuk's goals.

As promised, Detroit players came out more focused on the scoreboard than settling a score with Ribeiro for his two-handed baseball swing of his stick into the chest of Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood as Game 2 ended. Ribeiro was ticked off that Osgood popped him in the chops with the handle of his stick. The league fined both players, but neither was suspended.

Dallas was back home for the first time since a four-overtime victory against San Jose that ended the previous round. The Stars dominated the first six minutes, but didn't have anything to show for it as Datsyuk scored midway through the opening period, then scored again just 11 seconds after Dallas tied it.

The Stars are now facing the long odds of trying to wipe out an 0-3 deficit, something that's happening only three times in NHL history. A more tangible goal might be taking the lead - something they've yet to do this series.

Dallas goalie Marty Turco fell to 2-4-3 against Detroit at home. He's 2-13-5 against the Red Wings overall.

Osgood stopped 16 shots to improve to 9-0 this postseason.

Detroit was without Johan Franzen, whose 12 playoff goals are tops in the NHL, for a second straight game because of concussion-like symptoms, but it hardly mattered.

Niklas Kronvall set up Hudler's goal with a long outlet pass that caught the Stars changing personnel, letting him skate right at Turco. Zetterberg set up his own goal with a steal during a penalty kill, then skating away from Brad Richards and beating Turco on his stick side. Tomas Holmstrom had the primary assist on Datsyuk's second goal and Brian Rafalski got the second assist on both of Datsyuk's first-period goals.

Datsyuk doesn't always score in playoff games, but he often gets more than one when he does. He's had multiple goals in four of the last five postseason games in which he's scored.

Dallas was missing all-around star Jere Lehtinen from its top line because of a leg injury. Steve Ott filled in most of the time, but Mike Modano took over for a shift in the first period and it ended with Nicklas Grossman scoring his first career playoff goal.

Richards also scored for the Stars, tying it at 2 in the second period when a centering pass went off the skate of a Detroit defenseman and Osgood couldn't react to the quirky flight in time.

NOTES: Detroit has led after the first period in 11 of its 13 playoff games. ... Richards' goal was his first in seven games, even though he leads the team in shots this postseason. ... The Red Wings won 11 straight postseason games over the 1952 and '53 postseasons, then matched it in 1998 and '99.



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