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Penguins, Red Wings scoreless after first period

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings were tied 0-0 at the end of the first period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals on Friday night, with a lack of good chances and a lot of tentativeness on both sides.

After a let's-be-careful first 10 minutes in which neither side wanted to risk a mistake that might yield a momentum-shifting goal, Pittsburgh drew the first power play when Brad Stuart's slash knocked the stick out of Evgeni Malkin's hands at 11:24.

The Penguins controlled the puck for nearly a continuous minute to begin the power play and the Red Wings were visibly tiring as they couldn't make a line change, but Pittsburgh came up empty. The Penguins are 1-for-5 on the power play in Detroit.

The Red Wings had more scoring chances the rest of the period, with Marian Hossa - the former Penguins player who is scoreless so far in the series - shooting wide while skating down the right wing boards and Kirk Maltby missing in front. The Penguins ended with a 10-6 advantage in shots.

In a similar scenario in Game 5, the Penguins controlled the play for the first 8 minutes and had the first power play, but couldn't score and the Red Wings dominated the rest of the way, winning 5-0. Pittsburgh came back to win Game 6 at home 2-1 on Tuesday, the sixth consecutive game won by the home team.

There was one big scare for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has given up a few soft goals, was playing a dump-in by Johan Franzen from the neutral zone when the puck took an odd hop, forcing the goalie to make a tentative save - much like a catcher trying to control a knuckleball.

This was the second consecutive scoreless first period.

Detroit is trying to match what the 2003 New Jersey Devils did against Anaheim by winning all four home games and the series despite going 0-3 on the road. Detroit's Mike Babcock was the Ducks' coach at the time, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was one of his players.

The Red Wings were trying to uphold one of the NHL's strongest traditions - the home team wins Game 7 of the finals. No home team has lost a Game 7 since Chicago was beaten by Montreal and goalie Ken Dryden in 1971, with the last six going to the home team. Overall, home teams are 12-2 in Game 7s.

The Penguins were trying to lean on some Game 7 history that's favorable to Pittsburgh. They were 4-0 in road Game 7s, though none were in the finals, and the last team to win a Game 7 on the road in the NHL or NBA finals or the World Series was the 1979 Pirates in Baltimore. Home teams in the three sports are 18-0 since then.

For all the Red Wings' playoff tradition - they have far more Stanley Cup banners, 11, than some teams have playoff appearances - this was their first Game 7 since 1964. They have won the Stanley Cup four times since 1997, but none of those finals went longer than the six games they needed to eliminate Pittsburgh last season.

Game 7s have been low-scoring of late, with the last three ending with scores of 3-1, 3-0 and 2-1.

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