A turnover by Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez led to a shorthanded goal by Dan Cleary midway through the second period Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings all they needed to down the Wild, 3-1, in the first game of a rare home-and-home-and-home series.
Cleary’s goal at 9:10 of the middle period put the Red Wings up, 2-1.
With the Wild on a power play, Detroit cleared their zone and dumped the puck into the Minnesota end. Johan Franzen pressured Fernandez to play the puck behind the net, where Franzen picked it up and came around the other side. He sent a pass out to Cleary, who had moved into the right circle, and Cleary put a one-timer past Fernandez.
Nicklas Lidstrom added an insurance goal with 1:47 left in the period, blasting a shot from the high slot past Fernandez after being left all alone on the left side of the ice.
Henrik Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring just 4:00 into the game, banking a wraparound shot off of Fernandez.
Stephane Veilleux scored Minnesota’s lone goal with 5:10 remaining in the first, putting a shot on net that deflected off the skate of defenseman Chris Chelios and bounced past goalie Dominik Hasek.
Hasek made 34 saves on 35 shots while Fernandez stopped 22 of 25 shots against.
Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had three chances and Minnesota had four.
The teams will meet in the second game of their three-game series Saturday night in St. Paul. Chris Osgood is scheduled to start in goal for the Red Wings.