Getting Feisty

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.

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.


In the Stanley Cup Finals, nothing is guaranteed. Certainly the Red Wings were not guaranteed a sweep, although many fans and members of the media would have had it so. Certainly the Carolina Hurricanes did not become Eastern Conference Champions solely by luck and injuries to other teams. They proved so tonight in a close, even game finally won in overtime by the Hurricanes, 3-2.

The game started at a strong pace. Carolina showed their good defensive trapping ability, making Detroit work hard to get the puck towards the net. They also were able to take the play into Detroit’s zone and create a few scoring chances near Dominik Hasek‘s net.

The Red Wings were able to open the scoring on a power play near the end of the first period. Glen Wesley had taken an interference call and been sent to the box. Steve Yzerman held a Carolina clearing attempt in at the blue line and fired the puck towards the net. The rebound bounced free of Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe at the same time as Tomas Holmstrom was being shoved on top of Irbe by Aaron Ward. Sergei Fedorov was able to skate out from behind the net and flip the puck over the tangle of bodies in front.

Detroit had penalty trouble of their own early in the second period: over a minute and a half of five-on-three penalty time as a result of overlapping calls to Igor Larionov and Kris Draper. In spite of strong play by Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios, Sean Hill was able to put the puck past Hasek. Hill’s wrist shot from the left wing side deflected off the stick of Yzerman and into Hasek’s net.

The Grind Line regained the lead for the Red Wings with 9:21 left in the second. Darren McCarty passed the puck from the right corner out to Kirk Maltby at the top of the right faceoff circle, and Maltby sent off a fast wrist shot past two Hurricane defenders and over Irbe’s right shoulder for the goal.

Unfortunately for Detroit, the Hurricanes tied the game back up with under a minute left in the period. A sloppy Detroit line change and a sharp pass by Ward gave Jeff O’Neill a breakaway chance. Hasek did get some of the shot, but the puck managed to roll underneath him and into the net.

Both teams played hard in the third period, especially near the end when overtime was looming, but neither team was able to score, and the game went to the extra period. Less than a minute in, O’Neill made the Red Wings hurt again. He stopped Freddy Olausson‘s shot around the boards back behind the net and sent it out front, where Hurricanes captain Ron Francis was in position to tap it in for the win.

Shots on net were almost even?the Hurricanes had a slight edge, twenty-six to twenty-five. Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals will be Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

This is Carolina’s first win at the Joe since moving to Carolina from Hartford in 1997?. No European goaltender has ever yet won the Stanley Cup. This year, with Czech Dominik Hasek and Latvian Arturs Irbe in the nets, it’s guaranteed. And that is the only guarantee you will get in this Stanley Cup Final.

My Sister, My Wings Graduate

As the final buzzer sounded on the Red Wings’ Game Six victory over the Colorado Avalanche, I clincked a few buttons on my computer to post the game’s score on and left my desk to celebrate with my roommates. While walking out the door, I glanced at a calendar, already anxiously awaiting Friday night’s Game Seven. At that point, my heart sank: My little sister’s high school graduation was scheduled for Friday night at 7:00 PM.

I quickly called home, trying to weasel my way out of the obligation. The Wings and Avs in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals, surely that was more important. My sister, a Red Wings fan herself, agreed and said I only needed to stay long enough to see her walk. My parents disagreed, and I was stuck.

Much to my father’s disapproval, I brought a walkman to graduation, planning to listen to the ceremony only while my sister was speaking.

In Detroit, Karen Newman began “The Star-Spangled Banner” only seconds before it began at the graduation ceremony. The first speaker stepped to the podium just as the puck was dropped.

Before he was done speaking, I leaned forward to my step-mother and whispered, “One – zip, Wings.”

By the time my sister began her speech, “Dear Diary,” the Wings were up by four. The crowd at the graduation, most of which, like myself, carried some sort of radio, was buzzing.

During the first intermission, a woman slid over to me and asked, “Who scored that last goal?” By that point, I had stopped paying attention to the goal-scorers and was celebrating the fact that I was not missing a nail-biter, that my Wings were going to advance.

“Dear Diary,” my sister had said, “today we graduate.”

She forgot to add, “Dear Diary, today the Red Wings advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.”