DETROIT (AP) -Nicklas Lidstrom is looking for more from the Detroit Red Wings.
Already a three-time Stanley Cup champion, Lidstrom never settles for good enough. Sure the Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, but that doesn't mean Hockeytown has seen the best from the hometown club.
It's true that Detroit escaped from the first period with a 0-0 deadlock Saturday night in the series opener. The Penguins came out hard and fast and pressured the Red Wings into taking a handful of penalties. The penalty-killers were OK, goalie Chris Osgood was exceptional again.
Once the Red Wings got into their game over the final 40 minutes, Pittsburgh really never stood a chance. Detroit gave up 12 shots in the first period - including eight during four short-handed situations. After that, the Penguins had to settle for seven shots and one power-play chance while trying to dig out of a hole.
"We were able to take away lanes. They still had some shots though," said Lidstrom, the favorite to be named the NHL's top defenseman for a sixth time. "They're really good at moving the puck around and finding open lanes. Just different options that they have that you have to be aware of.
"You don't want to put yourself in that position where you have to kill a lot of penalties early on. If they get a goal early, it could be a different game."
It is that push-toward-perfection attitude that propels Lidstrom. He was third on the team in scoring with 70 points in the regular season, along with a staggering plus-40 rating.
Lidstrom has 11 more points in the postseason, and would've had his third goal if Tomas Holmstrom hadn't been whistled for goalie interference in the first period Saturday.
"He doesn't do anything wrong," Osgood said Sunday. "I call him the Peyton Manning of the NHL because he gets the puck behind the net, he sees the whole ice, and he never makes a bad pass. ... He just never misses. He's a perfect player. That's what I call him, too. I've got a couple of nicknames for him."
Osgood can afford to be glowing in his assessment. Detroit's strong defense, which doesn't just come from those on the blue line, has helped him go 11-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average in 14 games since taking over for Dominik Hasek in the first round.
The Red Wings' top line features Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who both finished in the NHL's top six in scoring during the season and are finalists to be the league's best defensive forward.
Zetterberg and Datsyuk took the job of being matched against Pittsburgh's top line centered by Sidney Crosby and pitched a shutout in Game 1. The Penguins never adjusted to get away from such a potent counterattack.
"What are you going to do, tell Sid he's not playing?" Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Sunday. "You play your players. I do the same thing. ... It's not like Crosby and his line and (Evgeni) Malkin and his line didn't have chances. If you go through the chances, for us we were outchanced in the first period. They had four power plays, and they outchanced us. They outshot us and outchanced us.
"If we don't have some puck luck in front of our net and things don't go our way, maybe they're up, and then the game's different. So from our perspective, we've got to tighten up."
Detroit won at least the first two games in each of its opening three playoff series, and can again take full advantage of starting at home during Game 2 on Monday night. The Red Wings have the philosophy that holding onto the puck not only gives them the best chance to score, but in turn keeps the opposition from generating its own offense.
Limiting turnovers keeps opposing scoring chances down, and having skill players that can maintain possession of the puck makes the task that much easier.
"We're real fortunate," Babcock said. "We have an excellent puck-moving defense and we have really good centers. When you have that, you have a chance to have the puck a fair bit."