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Detroit's late goals even series

RED WINGS 3, HURRICANES 1: Nicklas Lidstrom and Kris Draper score within 13 seconds in the third.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002


DETROIT -- For more than four minutes early in the second period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, Red Wings fans at Joe Louis Arena chanted, "Go Wings! Go Wings!"

Through play stoppages and end-to-end action, the deafening chant continued. It petered out finally, its enthusiasm dampened by Detroit's inability to crack the Hurricanes' defenses. Nicklas Lidstrom, on the other hand, in his own way, just kept going and going and going.

Detroit's Norris Trophy defenseman played an ironman 34 minutes, 38 seconds Thursday and scored the winner in a 3-1 victory over Carolina. The victory tied the series at 1. Just as important, the Red Wings hope Lidstrom's power-play goal, which broke a tie at 1 with 5:08 left, rekindles what has been a frustrated and snakebit offense.

It certainly had short-term value as Kris Draper scored 13 seconds later.

"I felt energized, even in the third period," Lidstrom said. "We just had to keep our composure and not get frustrated.

"If we didn't have an open shot, get one, whether it is high or down low."

"We know how good he is defensively," said Detroit coach Scotty Bowman, who earned his 33rd Cup victory, one short of Toe Blake's record. "But he really helped our attack. He's that good of a player."

The good players take advantage of their situations. And the situation in this series is games likely will be won and lost on the power play.

For the second straight game, the referees called it tight. Twenty penalties were called, resulting in 16 power plays. That is 29 power plays in the series with just three goals.

Highlighting the problems: Both teams scored short-handed goals during the first, Kirk Maltby for Detroit and Rod Brind'Amour for the Hurricanes.

Detroit was 1-for-8 on the power play Thursday after a 1-for-7 performance in Game 1, a far cry from the 21.6 percent pace the team was on entering the series.

The difference is Detroit is facing a Hurricanes team that is sound defensively and gives up the body.

Carolina blocked 28 shots, and goalie Arturs Irbe made some huge stops among his 27 saves.

But the Red Wings, who outshot Carolina 30-17, at times could not take advantage of their good fortune.

Draper missed an open net in the third when a backhand try dribbled off his stick.

Earlier in the period, Maltby had Irbe down but popped a rebound try over the net.

The Hurricanes were frustrated as well, going 0-for-8 on the power play.

Goalie Dominik Hasek contributed by stoning Bates Battaglia on a redirect in front of the net to preserve the tie. "You make one mistake, and one shot can change the game," Hasek said. "I didn't know who had the puck, but I knew he was going to pass. And (Battaglia) went for the five-hole."

The mistake was made by Carolina as Martin Gelinas was called for slashing with six minutes left. Gelinas said it was a good call even though a previous blatant slash by Detroit's Brendan Shanahan on Sean Hill was not called. "It was a gutsy call, but it was a bad penalty on my part," Gelinas said.

Lidstrom made Carolina pay.

"They are good at blocking shots and getting in front of shots, and it's tough to get the puck to the net," Lidstrom said. "I got an open lane, so I took the shot and tried to get it up high. And I got the puck through."

If Lidstrom was as tired as he sounded, he did not show it.

"He paces himself," Bowman said. "I thought he did more of that (Thursday). He tried to do that a couple of times."

He gave everything he had on Maltby's goal, coming back to the play to create a two-on-one.

"I felt fine throughout the whole game," Lidstrom said.

Even better after he scored his goal.

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