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Red Wings rally for win

By Wire services
Published April 8, 2004

DETROIT - It took the Red Wings less than five minutes to erase 40 minutes of frustration.

Tomas Holmstrom scored 4:55 into the third after Kris Draper tied it 37 seconds into the period to lift Detroit to a 3-1 victory over Nashville on Wednesday in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Robert Lang gave the Red Wings a two-goal cushion with 1:45 left.

Detroit coach Dave Lewis has won 48 games in his first two seasons but had not won a playoff game until Wednesday.

"I guess it's a bit of a relief," Lewis said.

In his first playoff start, Manny Legace made 23 saves for the Red Wings, who earned a league-best 109 points in the regular season.

For the first two periods, there were striking similarities to the Red Wings' playoff appearance last year, when a young franchise with a goaltender making his playoff debut beat a star-studded team.

Tomas Vokoun played like Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and the Predators looked like the Ducks.

Giguere set a record for a playoff debut with 63 saves last year when Anaheim beat the Red Wings in Game 1. Anaheim swept Detroit en route to the Stanley Cup final.

In Nashville's first playoff game in its six-season history, Adam Hall scored 16 seconds into the game, the quickest Detroit has been scored against in its playoff history.

Vokoun made 19 saves during the first two periods before giving up two early goals in the third and finishing with 26 saves.

Barry Trotz, the only coach the Predators have had, said he was pleased his biggest concern was not a factor.

"I was worried how we would start the game," he said. "I was afraid we would be in awe of the Detroit Red Wings and the atmosphere."

Legace said he would be nervous to play Wednesday, and he had to be after Hall's goal and Steve Sullivan's miss on a penalty shot 1:31 after the start.

Detroit's rabid fans were quiet until Draper tied it. Kirk Maltby fed Draper with a pass, and he split two defenders before scoring from the bottom of the left circle.

Holmstrom redirected Mathieu Schneider's shot for the go-ahead goal.

BRUINS 3, CANADIENS 0: Andrew Raycroft posted a shutout in his playoff debut for host Boston.

"You're going to have some butterflies" in the playoffs regardless of a player's experience, Raycroft said. "You can only get so nervous, and I was pretty close to where I like to be. It keeps you focused."

The Bruins got a boost when captain Joe Thornton, their leading scorer, returned after missing two games with an upper body injury.

He was hurt April 1 when he was hit on the wrist and fell against Washington.

Sergei Gonchar, acquired from the Capitals at the trade deadline, made it 1-0 5:12 in on a 40-foot wrist shot after taking a drop pass from Michael Nylander, also acquired from the Capitals.

The pair combined for the second goal with 59 seconds left in the first when Gonchar passed the puck from 45 feet in the center of the offensive zone to Nylander, who tipped it in from the right corner of the crease.

Mike Knuble made it 3-0 with 1:36 left in the second when he tipped in a shot that 18-year-old rookie Patrice Bergeron put into the crease from a few feet to the left of goalie Jose Theodore.

Stevens' status uncertain

WEST ORANGE, N.J. - Devils coach Pat Burns has no idea if star defenseman Scott Stevens will return.

Stevens has been out since Jan. 9 with post-concussion syndrome.

The 40-year-old captain has skated by himself in recent weeks, but Burns said Stevens' status is uncertain.

"We all love Scotty," Burns said. "I would throw him in the game right now. You all know that. But what we have to do, and what we did a while ago, was put ourselves in the frame of mind that he was not going to be there.

"That's exactly what we did and what we are doing until we are told. It makes great writing stuff for you to talk about, but we don't talk about it."

[Last modified April 8, 2004, 01:35:43]


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