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Published: Monday, 5/26/2008

Fleury fumbles entrance

ASSOCIATED PRESS
When Detroit's Dan Cleary scored on Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1, it wasn't the goalie's first embarrassing moment. When Detroit's Dan Cleary scored on Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1, it wasn't the goalie's first embarrassing moment.
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DETROIT - The young Pittsburgh Penguins stumbled out of the gate in the Stanley Cup finals when Marc-Andre Fleury fell as he took the ice.

Nothing went right for the young guns from the Steel City in Game 1 on Saturday night.

While there was nothing funny about the 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the dressing room was full of chuckles a day later as the Penguins dished out some good-natured ribbing to their flopping goalie.

Fleury was so excited to get on the ice before the final warmup that he ran down the tunnel. He was still in stride when he tumbled off the step and landed on the ice. He was lucky that Maxime Talbot didn't trample over him as the rest of the Penguins followed his lead.

"That was a little tough one for him," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said yesterday. "If anyone could do it and have a smile on his face, it's him. It's kind of funny, you look back and see it, see the reaction on Max's face when he's right behind him. But we all got a good laugh about that after the game."

Fleury laughed, too, but before practice was over yesterday at Joe Louis Arena, he added a new set of drills to his routine - hopping on and off the ice never seemed so tough.

He said he had never fell like that before, so what better time to do it than in his Stanley Cup finals debut.

"They've asked me that like five times," he said. "I got laughed at pretty loud but other than that it was a great atmosphere. I'm watching my footwork in the door. I should be OK [tonight]."

FRANZEN CLOSER: Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could be as close as a hard workout away from returning to the lineup.

Franzen, tied with teammate Henrik Zetterberg with an NHL-best 12 postseason goals, hasn't played since Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against Dallas because of recurring headaches.

Franzen said he has been symptom-free for 7-to-10 days, and he returned to practice Friday.

He was back on the ice with teammates yesterday, and is expected to meet again with doctors today. They want to get his heart rate up and see if that poses any problems or brings back the concussion-like symptoms.

If all goes well, he could play tonight.

"Maybe, maybe," Franzen said. "I want to get out there as quick as possible, but I don't want to do anything stupid to get injured again. You don't want to mess with the head. I'm going to listen to the doctor, what he has to say, and trust his opinion."

LINEUP CHANGES: In addition to line switching, Penguins coach Michel Therrien will return 42-year-old forward Gary Roberts to the roster.

Following the series-opening loss, Therrien made the decision to restore Roberts to the lineup after a four-game absence. Roberts had been bothered by leg injuries earlier in the playoffs and then was sidelined for the final three games of the previous series against Philadelphia due to pneumonia.

Roberts was a healthy scratch against the Red Wings and was very unhappy with the decision. He hasn't been back to the Stanley Cup finals since 1989 when he won a championship with Calgary.

"You wait 19 years to play in the Stanley Cup finals and you want to be part of it," Roberts said.

DRILLING DATSYUK: Detroit top-liner Pavel Datsyuk was fourth in the NHL with 97 regular-season points and placed second in the league with 66 assists. He finished first on the team in another category during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals - hits.

Datsyuk, matched up against the Pittsburgh line centered by Sidney Crosby, dished out six hits in the Red Wings' 4-0 victory. Only Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik had more in the game, recording seven.

"Everybody tried to be physical," he said. "I just tried to do my job and play the way we've played before."

He has not been shy to lower his shoulder to make his presence felt.

While some might be surprised by his physical side, his attention to that side of the game hasn't gone overlooked. Along with linemate Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuk is among three finalists for the Selke Trophy which is given each season to the NHL's top defensive forward.



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