Thursday, April 17, 2003

NHL: Ducks dethrone Red Wings in sweep

By Ken Peters
The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jean-Sebastien Giguere could hardly believe it. Giguere again was outstanding in goal, and Steve Rucchin scored 6:53 into overtime Wednesday night as the Anaheim Mighty Ducks beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 to sweep the defending Stanley Cup champions out of the playoffs.

"If you would have asked me at the beginning of the series about a sweep, I would have said, 'No,"' said Giguere, who stopped 32 shots in the Game 4 victory.

In his first NHL playoffs, Giguere faced 171 shots and had 165 saves in the Western Conference series, a 1.24 goals-against average against the high-scoring Red Wings.

The Ducks might have to wait as long as a week before beginning the second round against Dallas, St. Louis or Vancouver.

Anaheim's sweep of the Red Wings was payback: The Ducks' only two previous appearances, Detroit beat them in four games, in the second round in 1997 and the first round in 1999.

"They are a great team, and it's a good feeling to finally beat them," said Paul Kariya, who scored a first-period goal that tied the game 1-1.

Jason Krog scored with 15:25 left in the third period to give the Ducks the lead, but Sergei Fedorov's goal with 2:15 left in regulation sent the game into overtime.

Anaheim won the first game of the series 2-1 in triple overtime, and each of the four victories was by one goal.

With new coach Dave Lewis, a former assistant, and new goalie Curtis Joseph, the Red Wings became only the second defending Stanley Cup champions to be swept the following year in a four-game opening series.

In 1952, Detroit upset the 1951 champion Toronto Maple Leafs and went on to win the Cup.

"We just did not get it done, not one game," Lewis said. "Their team played hard. One guy (Giguere) did not beat us; he was the difference, but their team beat us."

The Red Wings' Darren McCarty said, "We just couldn't get that goal when we needed it. We're just all in shock."

Rucchin scored his first goal of the series with a one-timer from 10 feet after defenseman Keith Carney centered the puck from behind the net.

"The hockey gods reward the hardest workers and Rucchin worked the hardest this series and he deserved the goal," Anaheim rookie coach Mike Babcock said.

Rucchin credited Carney for setting up the winning goal.

"It was just a great play by Keith Carney all the way," Rucchin said. "It was a perfect pass."

Carney said, "The puck was on the side of the net and I saw it just sitting there. I had a lot of time. I saw the scramble in front and just wanted to throw it out, and Rucchin was there."

Detroit's Joseph gave up three goals on 27 shots.

Fedorov's first goal of the series and 50th of his playoff career came on a deflection, with the puck bouncing off Niclas Havelid and into the net past Giguere. The Anaheim goalie also had almost no chance on Detroit's other score, by Henrik Zetterberg on a two-man breakaway at 13:23 of the first period.

The goals were the second of the series for both Krog and Kariya. Grog scored the tying goal late in the Ducks' 3-2 win in Game 2. Kariya had the winner in Anaheim's 2-1, triple-overtime victory in the opening game.

Zetterberg gave the Red Wings a short-lived 1-0 lead at 13:23 of the opening period, but Kariya tied it just 1:45 later, beating Joseph at close range.

Adam Oates controlled the puck near the red line, skated into the Ducks' zone and made a perfect pass to Kariya, who broke behind the defense and beat Joseph high on the stick side from close range at 15:08 of the opening period.

Brett Hull set up Zetterberg's goal, stealing the puck near the top of the left circle, quickly skating toward the right post, then feeding Zetterberg with a tap across the crease. Zetterberg flipped the puck into the upper left corner of the net for his first goal of the series.

Blues 4, Canucks 1

ST. LOUIS - Martin Rucinsky had two goals and an assist as the Blues rallied from a flat start to beat Vancouver and take a 3-1 lead in their series.

Dallas Drake and Chris Pronger scored in the second period after spotting the Canucks a goal. Rucinsky scored twice in 1:37 late in the third for the Blues.

St. Louis, which got a strong game from goalie Chris Osgood to offset a 33-20 shots deficit, can close out the series in Game 5 on Friday night in Vancouver.

Trailing early is normal for the Blues, a league-leading 22-15-3-6 when giving up the game's first goal in the regular season.

The Canucks, whose goal came from Markus Naslund, were second in the NHL with 264 in the regular season. But they have been outscored 14-4 in the first four games.

Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 2, 3 OT

TORONTO - Mark Recchi scored his second goal of the game with 6:06 remaining in the third overtime period to give Philadelphia a series-evening victory over Toronto.

Ed Belfour made 72 saves before Recchi's wrist shot from the faceoff circle hit the goalie's stick and barely trickled over the goal line as the Flyers evened the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Jeremy Roenick also scored for the Flyers.

Travis Green and Mats Sundin scored for the Leafs, who were without leading scorer Alexander Mogilny. Clipped under the jaw by a stick two nights earlier, Mogilny was advised by team doctors to sit one out. He'll be re-examined Thursday.

The Flyers outshot the Leafs 75-38, setting a Philadelphia playoff record for most shots on goal.

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