DETROIT -- Dominik Hasek asked to be traded to the Detroit Red Wings because he was sure they would take him to the Stanley Cup. Turns out it was the other way around.
Hasek finally won the Cup he has chased throughout a Hall of Fame career - and 600-goal scorer Luc Robitaille did, too - as the Red Wings beat Carolina 3-1 Thursday night to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Tomas Holmstrom, a surprising scorer for much of the playoffs, and Brendan Shanahan, a surprising non-scorer for most of the last two rounds, scored Detroit's goals in tightly played Game 5 that mirrored one of the most defense-dominated finals ever, with only 21 goals scored.
The Red Wings sealed it with Shanahan's empty-net goal with 45 seconds left.
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs - the first European to win it.
Detroit, with one of the greatest collections of Hall of Fame talent in league history, went wire-to-wire in winning coach Scotty Bowman's NHL- record ninth Stanley Cup, breaking a tie with former mentor Toe Blake.
Bowman, who first coached in the finals during the 1960s, became the second major pro sports coach in two nights to win a ninth title, joining Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach is the only other coach with nine titles in any of the four major sports.
But this title will be remembered just as much being Hasek's first, just as Ray Bourque's first with Colorado was a year ago.
Hasek, who at 37 may now retire now that he's got a Cup, finally gave up a goal - Jeff O'Neill's line drive that he had no chance to play late in the second period - after shutting out Carolina for more than 166 minutes.
But it was Hasek's almost perfect play over the final three games and the timely scoring of Brett Hull and Igor Larionov that turned around the series and finished a season dominated by Red Wings from start to finish. Their Presidents' Trophy for winning the regular season was all but assured by a 22-3-1 start.
From the time Brett Hull scored with just over a minute left in Game 3 to prevent Detroit from going down 2-1 in the series, allowing Larionov to win it late in the third overtime, Detroit outscored Carolina 7-1.
Detroit teased its fans throughout the first period without a series of good scoring chances without getting the first goal, only to get it early in the second period.
Holmstrom, skating down the slot, stuck out his stick with his right hand to deflect Larionov's pass from the right circle through Arturs Irbe's pads.
Holmstrom's eighth goal of the playoffs, at 4:07 of the second, was all a jammed Joe Louis Arena crowd needed to erupt, a wave of cheering red and white - many in replica Red Wings jerseys - that began to congregate outside the arena by early afternoon.
If the first goal looked big in a low-scoring finals in which the no winning team has scored more than three goals, the second looked even bigger.
In a series in which nearly every key goal was scored at even strength, Shanahan powered in a shot from the right circle at 14:04 - only the third Detroit goal in 22 power-play chances.
It was Shanahan's second goal in two games after he had only one goal in 10 games, and he raised his arms in relief as much celebration of the 2-0 lead.
But, turned aside repeatedly for the equivalent of 2 1/2 games by Hasek, the Hurricanes finally scored on O'Neill's power play goal at 18:50, only the second in 23 chances for the Hurricanes.
The goal ended Hasek's scoreless streak at 166 minutes, 3 seconds dating to O'Neill's third-period goal in Detroit's three-overtime victory in Game 3. Hasek shut out the Hurricanes 3-0 in Game 4 on Monday night.
Hasek didn't have a chance on O'Neill's slap shot from the edge of the right circle as the puck slammed off the rear of the net and came out so quickly it took a lengthy video review to uphold the goal.
Until then, Detroit - determined not to let the series go back to Carolina for a Game 6 on the Hurricanes' home ice - had nearly all the good scoring chances, with Luc Robitaille hitting the left post in the first period and Sergei Fedorov halted by Irbe on a short breakaway later in the period.
Hasek's best save came late in the first when, after a Detroit giveaway in its own end, he just got his left skate out to turn aside a Sami Kapanen shot from five feet. Kapanen, Carolina's second-leading goal scorer during the season, scored only one goal in the playoffs.
Notes: Until Shanahan scored, 10 consecutive goals in the series were at even strength. ... Detroit had lost its last eight Stanley Cup finals in which it lost Game 1, but has now won five consecutive playoff series in which it lost the opener. ... Bowman, at 68 years, eight months, is the second oldest coach to win a major pro sports championship. Chicago Bears coach George Halas won a title at 68 years, 11 months in 1963. ... Detroit has won eight consecutive potential series-ending games. ... Ten Red Wings also played on their 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup champions.
© 2017. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us