DETROIT - For nearly 60 minutes, the story was the Detroit Red Wings winning without their hottest player.
The fracas in the final seconds that spilled into the postgame, though, will be what people are talking about and might lead to suspensions.
Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg scored first-period goals to help make up for the absence of Johan Franzen and Detroit held on for a 2-1 win last night over the Dallas Stars and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The game ended in ugly fashion as Chris Osgood used the handle of his stick to poke at Dallas's Mike Ribeiro when he skated past the net. Ribeiro then slashed Osgood across the chest from behind the net.
Following some scuffling, Ribeiro was called for a match penalty; Osgood wasn't penalized.
"Even if I did butt-end him, it was an accident," Osgood said. "I was trying to protect our best player, Nick Lidstrom, so he didn't get run."
Ribeiro's equipment was in the dressing room after the game, but he wasn't around.
After watching a replay, Dallas coach Dave Tippett blamed Osgood for the fracas. "Ribeiro is not going to turn around and chop the goalie like that without having something happening."
Osgood said even if he did hit Ribeiro, his reaction was excessive. "I don't think it justifies a two-hander over the top of the net."
Franzen, scratched from the lineup with concussion-like symptoms, has scored an NHL-high 27 times since March 2, a 27-game roll that includes a league-high and franchise-record 12 postseason goals.