Sunday's Three Stars: Cleary has Wings off on right foot

Ross McKeon

No. 1 star, Daniel Cleary(notes), Detroit Red Wings:
He may not be the biggest spoke in Detroit's winged wheel, but the veteran forward continues to come up big in these Stanley Cup playoffs. On the heels of his game-winner in Game 7 against Anaheim, Cleary scored two more goals in Detroit's opener against Chicago on Sunday. His unassisted goal at 8:23 of the first period tied the game and provided the Red Wings with their first tally of the Western Conference finals. Cleary liked that eight-minute mark so much he struck again at 8:58 of the third period to give the hosts a 4-2 lead with his fifth goal of the postseason. Cleary was a plus-3 with three shots during 15:40 of ice time.

No. 2 star, Johan Franzen(notes), Detroit Red Wings:
The Mule continues to have a second straight fantastic postseason. He scored his ninth goal of this playoff season, an unassisted goal at 16:38 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Franzen also added a pair of assists, primary helpers on Detroit's final two goals during 16:50 of ice time.

No. 3 star, Niklas Kronwall(notes), Detroit Red Wings:
Kronwall did something few defensemen do in a Detroit sweater, he logged more ice time than teammate Nicklas Lidstrom(notes). Kronwall's 24:03 led the Wings. He was a plus-1 with two blocked shots and a hit.

Major penalty: Your best players have to be your best players, and while Jonathan Toews(notes) and Patrick Kane(notes) are Chicago's best players, they sure weren't anything close to that in Game 1. Toews was scoreless with three shots on goal and 7-8 in the faceoff circle while Kane was without a shot. Both were on the ice for three goals against, and neither logged close to their average ice times.

Minor penalty: The Red Wings surrendered a power-play goal for the 10th straight playoff game, a franchise record. Hey, these guys have go to do something wrong sometime.

Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Johan Franzen, Red Wings; 2. Sidney Crosby(notes), Penguins; 3. Cam Ward(notes), Hurricanes; 4. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Red Wings; 5. Eric Staal(notes), Hurricanes; 6. Marc-Andre Fleury(notes), Penguins; 7. Chris Osgood(notes), Red Wings; 8. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks; 9. Dave Bolland(notes), Blackhawks; 10. Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings.