Work in Sports
DETROIT (Ticker) -- Steve Yzerman felt sick before the game and the Los Angeles Kings after it.
With the Red Wings without their captain, Chris Osgood recorded his seventh playoff shutout as Detroit opened its Western Conference quarterfinal series with a 2-0 victory.
Yzerman, the Red Wings' emotional leader, top scorer and one of the best players in NHL history, sat out with the flu, which had him throwing up before the game.
"It was a big shock," Detroit's Martin Lapointe said. "We're obviously a better team with him, but it's time for different guys to step up. I don't have to go into how important he is to this organization, but it's good to be able to get a win without him."
"They've got a pretty good lineup, even without Yzerman," Kings goaltender Stephane Fiset said. "We found out just before the game and we said it's not going to be easy. They've got a really good team."
The second-seeded Red Wings, who split four meetings with fifth-seeded Los Angeles during the regular season, hope to have Yzerman back in the lineup Saturday afternoon, when they host Game Two.
"They aren't the greatest team in the world, but they are an excellent team," Kings center Bryan Smolinski said of the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup champions. "We matched them well, even tonight."
Without Yzerman, Detroit played a tight-checking game and stifled Los Angeles, limiting it to 19 shots and helping Osgood to his seventh postseason shutout.
"We need our top offensive players to play better than tonight," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "And we expect them to do that Saturday. We know that we can beat this team. We proved that in the regular season."
Vyacheslav Kozlov snapped a 14-game goalless drought 1:43 into the second period when he used a screen from Mathieu Dandenault to beat Fiset from the high slot.
Sergei Fedorov capped the scoring with 13 seconds to play when he found an empty net.
"We played a tighter game than we usually do, but the bottom line is we came out of here with a win," McCarty said. "Our goal is to play a 60-minute, consistent hockey game and play at our level. When we do that, we know we're tough to beat."
The Kings pushed for the equalizer in the third period but Osgood was up to the task with 6 1/2 minutes left, stopping snipers Luc Robitaille and Zigmund Palffy on a flurry.
Seconds later, Palffy appeared to be pulled down by veteran defenseman Larry Murphy on a move to the low slot but referees Bill McCreary and Lance Roberts did not make a call.
The Kings went the final 24:16 without a power play and finished 0-for-3. Detroit went 0-for-6.
Playing his ninth playoff game, Fiset stopped 29 shots and kept Los Angeles close in the third, denying Brent Gilchrist on a breakaway with 5:13 to go.
"He was unbelievable," Kings captain Rob Blake said of Fiset. "He stopped Gilchrist on the breakaway. He gave us an opportunity at the end."
Osgood made one of his best saves with 13:12 left in the second, turning aside Ian Laperriere's snap shot off a breakaway.
"Somebody said the toughest job in Detroit is either quarterback for the Lions or goaltender for the Wings," McCarty said. "My response to that is you're not going to find a better goalie to play for this team than (Osgood)."
The Red Wings dominated the first period, holding a 12-4 edge in shots, but failed to score. McCarty rang the goalpost from the top of the left faceoff circle 4:46 into the game.