Larry Lage
Associated Press

Jonathan Ericsson will have a pretty good tale to tell his grandkids someday.

Ericsson scored for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, helping them beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to take a 2-0 lead, and got the best of superstar Evgeni Malkin three times on the same shift.

Not bad for a defenseman who played just four days after having his appendix removed.
"We've got really good team doctors here, so they take care of that so I can get out there," Ericsson said. "It doesn't bother me at all right now."

After Ericsson's goal made it 1-1 early in the second, he sure did bother Malkin on a shift later in the period.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Swede stood up Malkin to thwart his rush with about 12 minutes left in the period, then used his big body to get the MVP finalist off the puck again.

Malkin reacted by interfering with Ericsson, putting Detroit on the power play.
The Red Wings scored just after the penalty was killed, generating enough pressure that Valtteri Filppula's backhander gave them a 2-1 lead.

Ericsson is one of the young players performing for the defending Stanley Cup champions after being forced to develop in the minor leagues.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland likes his prospects "overripe" before they get a chance to play in the NHL.

The 25-year-old Ericsson was buried at Grand Rapids in the AHL until getting called up in March because defenseman Andreas Lilja was sidelined with a concussion.

Ericsson played 19 times in the regular season, scoring once and adding three assists.

In 17 playoff games, he has three goals — including on in his playoff debut in the first round against Columbus — and six points. Ericsson missed only one game after abdominal pain the morning of Game 5 in the Western Conference finals sent him to the hospital.

"He's a real good player," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "He's got the long reach. He's got the ability to get his hands out and get you on his back and make that good pass to get you going with speed.

"He's a guy who is going to be, I think, an elite player in the league for a long time."

Plenty of teams had a shot at drafting him because he lasted until the 291st — and final — selection in the 2002 NHL draft.


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