With a much more characteristic effort than we saw in Game One, the Red Wings soothed the negative thoughts of those who remember being swept by the New Jersey Devils in the Cup Finals way back in 1995. With a shorthanded goal, a power play goal, and an even strength goal, the Red Wings took a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes to tie the series at one game apiece.
Early in the first period, the Hurricanes were controlling the play and forcing pressure in the Detroit zone. Dominik Hasek stood his ground and kept the puck out of the net, and no damage was done. Little by little, the Red Wings crept back and took control.
Kirk Maltby put the Wings on the scoreboard in a shorthanded situation which had resulted from a holding call on Steve Duchesne. Kris Draper intercepted a Carolina pass in the Red Wings' zone and sent it ahead to Maltby. Maltby flew up the right wing side, with Nick Lidstrom keeping up on the left, and Maltby's shot tipped off of goaltender Arturs Irbe and into the net.
The Hurricanes were able to capitalize on a defensive mistake by Detroit and score a shorthanded goal of their own before the period was over. Jaroslav Svoboda was in the box for roughing, giving Detroit the man-advantage, but Rod Brind'amour intercepted Freddy Olausson's attempt at a rinkwide pass and went in all alone against Hasek. He faked the shot low, and Hasek dropped to cover the bottom half of the net, giving Brind'amour the chance to put the puck in high.
Detroit came out strong in the second period, not letting Carolina's late goal throw them off. The Red Wings controlled the puck for the majority of the time, but Irbe was exactly where he needed to be to make each save, and the score remained tied at one. The Hurricanes' skaters, for their part, kept to their tight defensive style of play, almost as if they had a lead instead of a tied game, waiting for the Red Wings to make another mistake.
The third period continued in much the same way. Carolina seemed content to run the clock down and take the game to overtime; most of their playoff victories have been won in the extra period. However, the Red Wings had other ideas. Martin Gelinas was handed a penalty for slashing Mathieu Dandenault with only six minutes left to play, and the power play, the seventh power play attempt of the night, got down to business. Sergei Fedorov sent a soft pass from the center of the blue line to Lidstrom, a few strides in front of his usual power play spot at the left point. Lidstrom took a hard one-timer shot that beat Irbe high on the short side to break the game open for Detroit.
Kris Draper followed up only thirteen seconds later. A long pass from Lidstrom sent Draper into the Hurricanes' zone all by himself. Irbe stepped forward to try to cut down the shot angle, but it was no good. Draper's wrist shot beat Irbe cleanly on the glove side.
Perhaps the most interesting development of the game came after all the goals had been scored for the evening. The two teams began to develop a distinct dislike for each other. Brind'amour gave Lidstrom an unecessary rough shove, and neither Darren McCarty nor Chris Chelios were willing to put up with that. The shoving match spread to all the players on the ice, while the fans roared their approval. Eventually the officials pulled everyone apart and assessed the unavoidable penalties, but not before the first seeds of actual rivalry had been sown. Remember, the Red Wings and Hurricanes don't know each other. They hardly meet at all in the regular season. They've hardly had time to develop any sort of interesting rivalry. It is developing now, and will surely color the remaining games of the Finals, however many there may be.
Game Three will be Saturday evening at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh.
Notes: Nick Lidstrom and Kris Draper missed tying the Stanley Cup Finals record for fastest pair of goals by only one second?. Steve Yzerman's assist on Nick Lidstrom's goal gives him a five game point streak.... The high temperature today in Raleigh, NC was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with high humidity. Pity the ESA's rink manager.
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