Right Back In It


A frustrated Vancouver fan threw a broom onto the ice at the end of the game– no sweep for them. For the first time in the playoff series, all aspects of the Red Wings’ game came together, gaining them a 3-1 victory and cutting their series deficit to only one game.

Scotty Bowman adjusted the lines slightly, as is to be expected, scratching Jason Williams and Uwe Krupp in favor of Boyd Devereaux and Freddy Olausson. Yet all the line changes and coaching strategies in the world would do no good if the Red Wings didn’t play with the intensity they are capable of, and they knew it. The offense and defense were both strong through the first period, taking thirteen shots against Dan Cloutier and holding the Canucks to only four shots against Dominik Hasek. Cloutier was solid in net once again, but the Red Wings put one past him on a power play midway through the first.

Brenden Morrison had gone into the box for holding. The Canucks cleared the puck from the zone on the first try, but Tomas Holmstrom and Steve Yzerman carried the puck back into the zone for the second attack. Yzerman took the puck behind the net and banked it off Cloutier’s right leg pad on a wraparound shot.

The Canucks answered with a powerplay goal of their own early in the second period, on a hooking call to Darren McCarty. Yzerman wasn’t able to win the faceoff cleanly, and Andrew Cassels flipped the puck over to Todd Bertuzzi, who put the puck high past Hasek before the Wings could even spread out into their penalty killing box formation.

The Red Wings spent most of the second period killing off penalties- a great deal of time was spent five-on-three. Sergei Fedorov was sent to the box for hooking, and forty-seven seconds remained in that penalty when Hasek was called for deliberate delay of game for knocking the net off its moorings. Brett Hull went into the box to serve the penalty, and Hasek, Yzerman, Chris Chelios, and Nick Lidstrom neatly and simply handled the Vancouver power play.

Just three seconds before Hull was to step out of the box, Brendan Shanahan was given a penalty for high sticking, and Vancouver was gifted with another two full minutes of power play time. Detroit’s penalty killers continued to live up to their promise, and the game remained tied at one.

Just twenty-five seconds before the end of the period, Nicklas Lidstrom took a perfectly aimed shot on the Canucks’ net from the Red Wings’ side of the center ice line. To everyone’s surprise, Cloutier missed the puck, and the 102 foot slapshot hit the back of the net.

Brendan Shanahan gave the Wings their first two goal lead of the series early in the third period. The puck squirted free from a tangle of players and sticks along the right side boards, right to Shanahan’s stick. He positioned himself, waited, and took a hard wrist shot which just barely redirected off the stick of Ed Jovanovski and right between Cloutier’s legs.

Vancouver came back hard during the third period, but Hasek was right where he needed to be, playing once again like that goaltender who backstopped the Red Wings to the President’s Trophy, not the frustrated netminder he has been of late. Bertuzzi was awarded a penalty shot with three minutes left to go. It could have been huge for Vancouver, but Hasek got in his way and the puck stayed out of the net.

The Red Wings closed out the game easily enough when Bertuzzi was sent to the penalty box for roughing with only 1:52 to play.

Cloutier stopped twenty-three of the twenty-six shots the Red Wings sent against him during the game, while Hasek made twenty-two splendid saves on twenty-three shots. The Red Wings will attempt to even up the series Tuesday night when Vancouver hosts Game Four.

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