Series (Game 1 of 4)

Detroit leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 10th
Red Wings6Final
Game 2: Tuesday, October 29th
Red Wings3
Game 3: Monday, February 10th
Red Wings5
Game 4: Thursday, March 27th
Red Wings0Final

Red Wings 6

(1-0-0, 2 pts)

Sharks 3

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

10:30 PM ET, October 10, 2002

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
DET 3 3 06
SJ 1 1 13

K. Maltby (Red Wings - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

S. Fedorov (Red Wings - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

V. Damphousse (Sharks - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

Fedorov, Maltby score two goals each in rout

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Dave Lewis waited 15 years for this night, and yet he didn't feel one butterfly.

Miikka Kiprusoff

Sharks goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled after allowing six goals in the first two periods.

It's easy to be confident when you're coaching the Detroit Red Wings, who look every bit as good as the team that won the Stanley Cup last season.

Kirk Maltby scored two short-handed goals in the first 7:05, and Curtis Joseph made 23 saves to win his Detroit debut Thursday night as the Wings opened defense of their title with a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Sergei Fedorov also scored two goals as the Red Wings rolled to an easy victory for Lewis, the longtime assistant coach who got Detroit's top job last summer. With two more games still to come on Detroit's road trip, Lewis didn't allow himself more than a moment of reflection and satisfaction.

"I think it's all about preparation,'' Lewis said. "It was a long time to prepare for this day, and I think that's why I wasn't nervous. ... It feels good to win, and that's what winning's all about, feeling good.''

After the game, the players presented Lewis with the puck, which he called "a tremendous souvenir.'' Scotty Bowman, Lewis' famed predecessor who retired after the Wings' Cup win, watched the game from ESPN's studios in Connecticut.

With a convincing victory and exceptional play on special teams, Detroit's powerful, veteran lineup didn't miss a beat after offseason changes and the absence of captain Steve Yzerman, who's out until January following knee surgery.

Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom also scored as the Red Wings ripped San Jose goalie Miikka Kiprusoff for six goals on 15 shots in the first two periods.

Joseph bolted from Toronto in hopes of winning a title as the replacement for retired Dominik Hasek. Wearing his customary rabid-dog mask -- in red instead of Maple Leafs blue now -- Cujo was mostly solid, with a stunning point-blank stop of Todd Harvey late in the second period.

"When you've got a big lead, it takes the pressure off everybody,'' Joseph said. "Coming in with a new team, you want to get a win right off the start. Once the puck drops, though, same old, same old.''

Kiprusoff, who's expected to be the Sharks' starter while Evgeni Nabokov remains a contract holdout, was replaced by Vesa Toskala to start the third period. But Kiprusoff wasn't to blame for at least four of the goals, which resulted from sloppy defense and poor puck-handling by his teammates.

Vincent Damphousse had two goals and an assist, and captain Owen Nolan had three assists for the Sharks, who lost their opener for the third straight season -- twice to Detroit.

"We were an emotional group tonight,'' Nolan said. "We had no focus. We had early mistakes, and they capitalized and burned us with every one.''

The Sharks hung their Pacific Division title banner in the rafters in a pregame ceremony, but they clearly weren't the same team without Gary Suter, injured wing Scott Thornton or holdouts Nabokov and Brad Stuart.

The Red Wings went ahead just two minutes in on a short-handed goal by Maltby -- and it happened on a play that justified the Sharks' biggest fears about the season after the retirement of Suter, their veteran defenseman and power-play quarterback.

Jeff Jillson, a second-year pro who's expected to replace Suter and Stuart on the power play, made an atrocious pass from the Sharks' corner. It was fumbled by Mike Rathje and intercepted by Maltby, who easily beat Kiprusoff.

"Things weren't going right out there,'' Jillson said. "We didn't establish our presence, and our power play backfired. We seemed to be stumbling all night. We need to regroup.''

Maltby got another short-handed goal a few minutes later when Nolan missed the puck near the boards and gave up a 2-on-1. Fedorov scored in the opening minute of the second period with a nasty wrist shot -- which he nearly duplicated 11 minutes later for another goal.

"We're not stupid. We don't expect to get those bounces every night,'' Maltby said. "Everybody has a little rust on opening night. They're a better team than that.''

Rathje scored a power-play goal early in the third period.

Detroit also opened the 2001-02 season in San Jose. Brendan Shanahan scored two short-handed goals in that game, including the game-winner in overtime.

Game notes

San Jose has won just two of its 12 season openers. ... Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings' rookie forward, got his first NHL point with an assist on Fedorov's first goal. Zetterberg, a Swedish Olympian, was considered the world's best player who wasn't in the NHL last season. ... Maxim Kuznetsov got a double minor six minutes in when his errant high stick opened a gash above Nolan's nose. ... Joseph has 25 career victories over San Jose -- more than any other goalie.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press