Red Wings Take Game 1 From Ducks|
By Ray Van Horn, Jr. Copyright 1999
A Steve Yzerman hat trick and raw play by the Detroit Red Wings, coupled with an unexpected dip into the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim's reserve goalie unit, contributed to a bloody affair as the Wings captured Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in their bid to repeat as champions for the third year in a row.
A lengthy first period saw the fortified and hungry Red Wings establish instant home authority with offensive penetration and buckets full of hits. They kept the Ducks pinned in their own zone for most of the period, generating 18 shots on goal versus Anaheim's 8.
Detroit's first period dominance wavered briefly as Anaheim's Marty McInnis scored his first career playoff goal at 6:41 on a power play that was assisted by Paul Kariya. McInnis seized the opportunity by flicking a wrist shot as Detroit goalie Chris Osgood was smothered by his scrambling, stacked-up defensemen.
The Red Wings refueled themselves as Steve Yzerman scored the first of his three goals, finding a narrow margin behind the skate of Anaheim's Guy Hebert after playing a bounce off of the boards at 11:06.
Detroit again foiled Hebert as Wendel Clark banked one in at 17:30, following up a blocked shot by Sergei Federov, giving his team a 2-1 lead.
The Red Wings continued their blitzkrieg into the following period, scoring a power play goal at :31. Steve Yzerman grabbed his 2nd goal while Brendan Shanahan was credited with an assist.
Paul Kariya roared back for the Ducks at 1:45 with a scorching slapshot through Chris Osgood's legs. The hard blast clanged the goal pipes and produced gasps and boos from the faithful at Joe Louis Arena. Steve Rucchin picked up the first of his two assists on the night.
The climactic moment of the game occurred when Guy Hebert was clipped in the forehead of his mask by Brendan Shanahan, who was upended by Anaheim's Ruslan Salei.
Enter Tom Askey, up from Anaheim's AHL affiliate, Cincinnatti. As second-string netminder Dominic Roussel was sidelined with the flu, Askey, who had arrived at the arena only an hour before the game, was forced to relieve Hebert, who would not return in the game.
Askey performed admirably under such duress--it should be noted that this was only his 8th NHL game. He fared well until Detroit's Doug Brown picked him off from a Wendel Clark set-up at 16:49 of the second period, making the game a 4-2 Red Wings lead at that point. Detroit's Doug Draper rounded the period with numerous blatant dirty cheap shots, many of which were left uncalled for penalties.
The Ducks refused to die, however. At 13:03 of the third, Steve Rucchin dribbled a pass behind Osgood's net to Paul Kariya, who then found Teemu Selanne waiting in front of the goal. Selanne had been quiet for most of the evening as Anaheim head coach Craig Hartsburg had split him and Kariya up in a desperate attempt to generate more offensive opportunities. Teemu chipped in the score, drawing the Ducks to within one of the Wings.
Anaheim's momentum, however, was quickly snuffed as Yzerman completed his hat trick at 18:42, exploiting Tom Askey's rookie-like mistake of coming too far out of his crease to attempt a pass to Teemu Selanne. Escorted by Shanahan, Yzerman intercepted the puck and blew it by Askey, locking Game 1 for the Red Wings. The hat trick boosted Yzerman's playoff goals scored to 56.
As the game finished, both teams were banged, bruised and bloodied. Three Detroit players, including Yzerman, were cut up. Though Guy Hebert checks in with the worst injury for Anaheim, Jason Marshall's face was left a mushy pulp as he took a puck across the eye, and a shot in the mouth by Detroit's Darren McCarty. To his credit, Marshall remained in the game and played with his usual feisty zest, goading and checking as many Red Wings as he could get away with.
Despite a mastery of his opponents, Yzerman gave a respectful comment in regards to the speedy tag-team of Kariya and Selanne: "We'd rather not get into a run and shoot game (with them)."
Anaheim, ever mindful of the 4 game sweep at the hands of the Red Wings in the 1996/97 Stanley Cup playoffs, are faced with the same situation they suffered in that series. Guy Hebert was injured then as the Ducks were forced to go to then- backup Mikhail Shtalenkov. Down 1-0 in the series, Hebert's status is as of yet undetermined for Game 2.
Copyright©1999 The HockeyNut