Mighty Ducks bury Red Wings in 2-0 series hole

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2003

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are in playoff trouble -- again.

Anaheim's Stanislav Chistov, Jason Krog and Steve Thomas scored as the Mighty Ducks rallied to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

Last year, before Detroit won its third title in six seasons, it dropped the first two games of the first round at home to Vancouver before winning four straight to advance.

''Just because we did it last year doesn't mean we're going to do it this year,'' Detroit's Brendan Shanahan said. ''But we've got that experience to draw on.''

Game 3 is Monday night in Anaheim.

If the Red Wings are able to win four of five against Anaheim, they will be just the third NHL team to come back from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series in consecutive years. The New York Islanders did it during the 1975 and 1976 playoffs and Pittsburgh pulled off the feat in 1991 and 1992.

The Mighty Ducks were still in their sweat-drenched uniforms by the time they were reminded of how Detroit rallied in the same situation last season.

''Even though we're up two games, I have so much respect for that team,'' said Thomas, who scored the game-winning goal with 4:14 left. ''It's important to keep composure and to stay on an even keel right now.''

While Hockeytown is stunned, the Mighty Ducks are not. They don't even think they've played well.

''I don't know why we haven't played like we can play,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. ''It's like we're so cautious, we're so worried about them instead of skating and playing the game.''

Detroit was ahead 2-1 in the second period after solving Jean-Sebastien Giguere and appeared set to tie the series, but Krog tied the game with 6:26 left and Thomas followed 2:12 later with his game-winner.

When Thomas' slap shot from the left circle beat Curtis Joseph -- who made 20 saves -- the sold-out crowd fell into stunned silence.

''There's no question in my mind that he is not going to sleep tonight,'' Thomas said.

As the Red Wings skated off the ice, they were booed briefly.

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch stands to lose a lot of money on his $68-million team if the revenue he's counting on from the playoffs disappears with an early Detroit exit. The Red Wings could be eliminated before playing another home game but Ilitch insisted he's not worried.

''I have confidence in my guys,'' Ilitch said as he walked toward his car.

Detroit captain Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings don't deserve to be down 2-0.

''I think we played reasonably well in spite of losing,'' Yzerman said.

Babcock, a rookie NHL head coach, agreed.

''They outplayed us in both games,'' Babcock said.

Avalanche 3, Wild 2

DENVER -- Brian Willsie scored his first goal of the season and first career playoff goal, and Patrick Roy made 24 saves as Colorado squared its first-round series against Minnesota 1-1.

Willsie's goal at 5:49 of the third period gave Colorado a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead, but Minnesota's Andrew Brunette made it close on a power-play goal with 35.6 seconds left.

Dwayne Roloson had 25 saves for the Wild.

The Avalanche, facing a team that plays a smothering defense once it gets the lead, was hoping for an early advantage, and got it. Minnesota is 21-0-1 when leading after one period this season and 31-0-1 when ahead after two.

Goals by Milan Hejduk and Greg de Vries sparked Colorado to a 2-1 lead in the first period, during which it outshot the Wild 13-4.

Wes Walz tied it at 1 for Minnesota in the first period.

Capitals 6, Lightning 3

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jaromir Jagr had two goals and two assists, and Washington took a 2-0 series lead over Tampa Bay Lightning on the road.

Peter Bondra also scored two goals and had an assist to put the sixth-seeded Capitals in position to eliminate third-seeded Tampa Bay by winning Games 3 and 4 at home. The Lightning have not won in Washington since Nov. 4, 1998 -- a span of 11 games.

Limited to one shot in Game 1, Jagr asserted himself from the start and didn't show any signs of being bothered by a sore right wrist.

The eight-time All-Star stopped a streak of eight games without a goal less than five minutes into the first period. He also had assists on goals by Bondra and Michael Nylander.

The four points by Jagr matched the career playoff-high he set April 13, 2000.

Senators 3, Islanders 0

OTTAWA -- Marian Hossa scored twice and Patrick Lalime got his fifth career playoff shutout as top-seeded Ottawa evened its first-round playoff series with New York.

Vaclav Varada also scored for Ottawa, which was winless in nine games as the higher seed in a playoff series after New York's stunning 3-0 victory in Wednesday's series opener.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Monday on Long Island.

Hossa and Varada scored 1:41 apart to give the Senators a 2-0 lead just 8:24 in.

Lalime made 16 saves and was rarely tested as Ottawa outshot New York 34-16. He had four shutouts in last year's playoffs.

Canucks 2, Blues 1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Trent Klatt and Ed Jovanovski scored power-play goals, and Dan Cloutier made 26 saves as the Vancouver Canucks tied their first-round playoff series.

Pavol Demitra scored a power-play goal with 54.1 seconds left and goalie Chris Osgood on the bench. But the Blues couldn't put the tying goal past Cloutier, who stopped 11 shots in the third period.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Monday in St. Louis.

Cloutier earned his third career playoff victory and ended the Canucks' seven-game playoff losing streak at home that dated to April 22, 1996.

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