Originally created 05/12/02

Red Wings advance to conference finals



DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings took another step toward the Stanley Cup, ending St. Louis' season for the fourth time since 1996.

Brendan Shanahan had two goals and two assists and Dominik Hasek made 16 saves for his third shutout of the playoffs as the Red Wings eliminated the Blues with a 4-0 victory Saturday in Game 5 of their second round series.

The Red Wings advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1998, the year they won their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

After failing to advance past the second round for three straight seasons, Detroit restocked its already talented roster last summer by trading for Hasek and signing free agents Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.

Detroit, which has won eight of its last nine playoff games, will face the winner of the Colorado-San Jose series.

Jiri Fischer and Tomas Holmstrom scored second-period goals and Shanahan sealed the victory with a goal with 3:03 left and then an empty-netter with 41.5 seconds left. Shanahan, who assisted on the second-period goals, has 103 postseason points.

A difficult challenge was made even tougher for the Blues when they lost defenseman Chris Pronger, their captain, to a season-ending knee injury in Game 4.

Goaltender Brent Johnson, who made 11 first-period saves and 25 overall, did his best to keep the Blues in the game. But his teammates weren't able to create many scoring chances against Detroit's stingy defense and when they did, Hasek gave them little hope.

Midway through the first period, Johnson turned away Hull's consecutive slap shots. Then late in the period, he stopped Kris Draper on a breakaway and turned away Steve Yzerman's shot.

St. Louis played for nearly eight minutes before getting a shot on Hasek, and it took nearly 11 minutes in the second to get their second shot of the period. They finished with just 16 shots.

The Red Wings made Hasek's job easier by blocking several shots before they even got to him. Kirk Maltby stopped two shots with his body while playing without a stick during a St. Louis power play in the second period.

Detroit broke the scoreless tie at 4:42 of the second on Fischer's wrist shot from above the left circle. The Red Wings went ahead 2-0 midway through the period when Holmstrom redirected Shanahan's shot.

Hasek's shutout was his second of the series and the ninth of his career.

Notes: St. Louis' Barret Jackman played in his first playoff game, and second NHL game, to take Pronger's place in the lineup. ... Fischer, in his second full season, has three goals in the playoffs after scoring his second and third career goal during the regular season. The defenseman didn't have a point in five playoff games last year. ... St. Louis was outscored 2-0 in the third, after outscoring the Red Wings 7-1 in the final period over the first four games of the series.