Getting it done
Hasek close to his best in critical Game 2Posted: Thursday June 06, 2002 11:30 PM
Updated: Friday June 07, 2002 12:00 AM
DETROIT (AP) -- Dominik Hasek was brought to Detroit so the Red Wings wouldn't have to worry about their goaltender.
In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, they didn't have to.
Hasek made 16 saves, including a key stop on Bates Battaglia with 8:28 left, as the Red Wings beat Carolina 3-1 Thursday night to even the Stanley Cup finals.
"My job is to stay focused, no matter how many shots I face," Hasek said. "It was not hard for me to focus, however, because I knew that one shot could change all the momentum in the game. That shot from Battaglia could've done that for them, but I am happy that I was able to make the save."
Hasek also prevented the Hurricanes from pulling within a goal in the final seconds.
Hasek wanted out of Buffalo, where he played the previous nine seasons, because he didn't believe the Sabres could help him complete his resume -- which includes six Vezina Trophies, two Hart Trophies as league MVP and a gold medal from the 1998 Olympics. He believed Detroit was the best place to get that missing Stanley Cup.
His wanting to move turned out to be good timing because the Red Wings wanted to release Chris Osgood, who helped them win the 1998 Stanley Cup, one year after they traded Mike Vernon, who helped them win it in '97.
Hasek stopped the Hurricanes on a similar play they used to win Game 1.
Battaglia received a cross-crease pass and tried to lift the puck past Hasek for a power-play goal and a 2-1 lead, but Hasek made the save. On the same type of play, Ron Francis beat Hasek 58 seconds into overtime to give Carolina a 3-2 win Tuesday.
"It was similar," Hasek said. "But this time, it wasn't so quick. The other day, that happened so quick that I couldn't describe it after the game and I still really don't know what happened. Tonight, I had more time to prepare for the shot.
"I knew Battaglia was open on my left, so I made the butterfly and he tried to go for my 5-hole and I closed my 5-hole."
Hasek didn't face a lot of shots -- unlike Arturs Irbe who saw 30 -- because Detroit did a good job of being aggressive offensively, smothering the Hurricanes in the neutral zone and by blocking shots with their bodies in its own end.
"I was definitely happy with our defense, it was much better than in the first game," Hasek said.
The native of the Czech Republic was one save away from adding to his NHL record of five shutouts in one postseason.
"I don't care about shutouts," Hasek said. "I just want to win."
After Detroit's Fredrik Olausson turned the puck over to Rob Brind'Amour near the red line, Brind'Amour was in the clear against Hasek.
The crowd at Joe Louis Arena held its breath -- then let out a disappointed sigh at 14:47 when Brind'Amour tied the game at 1.
The former Michigan State star made the puck dance on both sides of his stick, then Hasek went low and Brind'Amour went high with a wrist shot in a way that most shots get past Hasek, who prefers to play on his knees.