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Detroit Ot Victor

Stanley Cup playoffs

It was Detroit’s first overtime of the playoffs and the Red Wings wanted to pepper the Chicago goal with shots. It turned out just one was enough.

Nicklas Lidstrom’s overtime goal 1:01 into the extra period powered the Red Wings to a 2-1 victory Thursday night in the opener of their Western Conference final series with the Blackhawks.

“We said before the overtime that we wanted to get as many shots on net as possible,” Lidstrom said. “So, when we won the draw, Shawn (Burr) went to the net and I just took a shot. I thought it was going to hit Shawn’s skate, but it didn’t. And then I heard it hit the net. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

It was Chicago’s fifth overtime game during the playoffs, but the experience didn’t help.

Lidstrom blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Chicago goaltender Ed Belfour was screened on the shot. His reach for the puck was short and late as it buzzed into the net to set off yet another deluge of octopuses on the ice.

The slimy sea creature became a Detroit playoff tradition in the days of a six-team NHL when only eight wins were needed to clinch a Stanley Cup championship.

“You knew it was going to be a screen shot or a rebound, or something like that,” Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. “Because both defenses were playing much too well to give up a clean chance in overtime.”

It was the first overtime home victory for Detroit since March 29, 1960, when it beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Red Wings had lost 10 straight overtime playoff games in between.

Game 2 will be played Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena before moving to to Chicago for Games 3 and 4.

Joe Murphy opened the scoring for Chicago. Keith Primeau tied it for Detroit.

Tags: hockey