- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2002

DETROIT For 55 minutes, the two sides battled. And because they were all over each other, play sputtered at times, especially on power plays.

But when the Detroit Red Wings finally had the opportunity to ignite their afterburners, they did and it was the Carolina Hurricanes and goalie Arturs Irbe who got burned.

The Red Wings scored twice within 13 seconds late in the third period, earning a 3-1 victory and a 1-1 tie in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Finals. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Raleigh, N.C., tomorrow and Monday.

Nicklas Lidstrom scored on a power play for the Wings at 14:52 of the third period to break a long-standing 1-1 deadlock, and Kris Draper added his second of the postseason 13 seconds later to provide some insurance for goalie Dominik Hasek.

The issue should have been settled far earlier except for superior penalty killing for both teams or incredibly bad power play efficiency for both, depending on your point of view. Each team had eight power plays, a very high number this deep into postseason, and only Detroit converted. And the Wings' one power play goal came on their seventh attempt of the night.

The game ended on a nasty note, as these things often do, with Detroit successfully killing off a short-lived 5-on-3 disadvantage.

Martin Gelinas, the Carolina hero who scored the overtime game-winner against Toronto to get his team to the finals, was the goat last night, incurring a senseless slashing penalty 14 minutes into the final period. Lidstrom scored his fifth of the playoffs while a man up on a shot that Irbe probably should have had.

Draper's goal also came on a shot that Irbe probably would have had earlier in the game.

The method of scoring for the first two goals of the game was unusual due to the very nature of the playoffs, very solid defensive play that usually prevents things like shorthanded scores.

Kirk Maltby got the first one, putting Detroit ahead at 6:33 of the first when he came in on the right side of a 2-on-1 and snapped a wrist shot in off Irbe's left elbow. Wings defenseman Steve Duchesne was off for tripping at the time.

At 14:47 of the first, with Carolina's Jaroslav Svoboda off for roughing Brendan Shanahan, the Wings attempted to pass between the points, and Rod Brind'Amour stepped up, grabbing the puck and getting a step on the two defensemen before they knew what was happening. He confronted Hasek, who predictably went down, and the center easily lifted the puck into the top left corner.

"We're never going to quit regardless of what is happening," Brind'Amour said when asked if the Hurricanes' aggressive personalities allowed them to come from behind and with a shorthanded goal to boot. "That has been an earmark of our team all year. No reason for us to stop doing what we have been doing [successfully]."

Shanahan, meanwhile, conceded what has become obvious.

"We never thought it was going to be easy," the left wing said. "I think the rest of the world caught on that this was a real team over on the other side. We know how good they have been playing and they played great against us the first time."

Notes Paul Maurice, the Hurricanes' coach, was drafted by Philadelphia (252nd overall) but never made it into the league as a player. Nonetheless, he has never been a fan of a long-standing NHL tradition the morning skate before games, a dying institution in some areas, a religion in others.

"I only go because it's a routine," the coach said before last night's game. "I hate morning skates, always have. I think we had two this year that were mandatory; they are always optional. Just so happens that the majority of our team comes out, and I've had two, three players over the last couple years say when [Im] not out there, it's a little bit different, so just come out there, stand around and blow the whistle. I have our morning skates down to about nine minutes.

"I can remember a morning skate when I first came in [as a coach]. New Jersey skated for 45 minutes, harder than we practiced on our off days. Mind you, they were winning at the time. Not a big fan of [morning skates]. I can clearly remember going into Pittsburgh, watching the morning skate and thinking, 'Man, these guys aren't ready to play.' We lost 9-2, an excellent lesson. Half their guys didn't even have their equipment on. Some of then didn't have shin pads, no helmets. Man, that was ugly."


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