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Holmstrom again gets in the way of a Red Wings playoff goal

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Red Wings left wing Tomas Holmstrom has made a career of being an aggressive presence in front of the net.

But for the second time in as many playoff series, a referee thought Holmstrom was a bit too aggressive around the goal.

What would have been the first score of the Stanley Cup finals was waved off Saturday night when Holmstrom was ruled to have interfered with Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Video replays showed Fleury close to being outside his crease when Holmstrom appeared to get his stick near the young goaltender's legs.

The shot by Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom, which was fired into the top of the net, was disallowed and Holmstrom was sent by referee Dan O'Halloran to the penalty box with 4:40 left in the first period.

"It is a tough goal to get disallowed like that," Holmstrom said during a television interview between the first and second periods. "Fleury was coming out. I don't know. I have got to see the replay, but it was a tough call."

It ended up not mattering as much, because Detroit sailed to a 4-0 win.

A similar call was made during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in Dallas when Holmstrom's backside cost the Red Wings a goal.

Pavel Datsyuk's goal was taken off the board after game officials said Holmstrom interfered with Stars goalie Marty Turco in the crease.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said at the time that Holmstrom's history of crowding and bumping goalies likely factored in.

"It has happened before where a goal has been disallowed when Homer's in front," Lidstrom said. "We know we have to continue to go hard to the net, we have to be there for the screens.

"He's so good at that, too, we need him to do that," he said. "He's been doing that for a lot of years, and he's going to continue to do that."

An irate Babcock screamed at O'Halloran after the disputed call during Game 1 of the Cup finals, at one point lunging forward and pointing his finger as he yelled.

"I just coach the game," Babcock said afterward. "I don't get to referee it."

When pressed for more, Babcock wanted to move on.

"I don't know. Let's go to the next topic," he said.

Fleury said Holmstrom is one of the best in the league at wreaking havoc around the net.

"He's always there," said Fleury, who stopped 32 of 36 shots. "I can't focus about him. I've got to try and find the puck and make the saves."

"They had a penalty, and it was no goal," he said.

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