Day at a Glance
Hasek has huge hand in Sabres' upset
Posted: Wednesday June 09, 1999 01:57 PM
By Denise Maloof, CNN/SI
| In the Crease |
Illustrated contributor Pierre McGuire , a former coach of the
Hartford Whalers, dissects strategy for CNNSI.com throughout the Stanley
Cup finals. |
Game 1 was all Dominik
Hasek . He was not only strong in all phases of the game, he
was also his team's best penalty-killer. Anytime that you are forced
to kill 10 penalties, including two in OT, and win, you know the
goalie was special.
However, don't discount the way the Buffalo defense was led by
Jay McKee and
Alexi Zhitnik . While they play with different partners, both
men were a thorn in the side of the Dallas attack. If the Sabres are
to have follow up success in Game 2 it will be imperative for them to
continue the attacking style they showed in the third period and in
overtime. Winning offensive-zone faceoffs and working on their cycle
game are two main things the Sabres must concentrate on. Along the way
they better remember to bring a little bit of self-discipline with
them to Reunion Arena, because putting Dallas on the power play that
many times in one game is like playing with fire.
The Stars hit a wall Tuesday because of Buffalo's
penalty-killing prowess. The Sabres use a passive forecheck when they
are shorthanded, so it will be important for the Stars to tinker with
their power-play breakout. Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk are
going to have to carry the puck more into the offensive zone rather
then shooting it in. Once the attacking zone is established, the Stars
need to get more people in front of Hasek. Pat Verbeek and
Jamie Lagenbrunner need to camp out in front of the Dominator to
limit his vision. Don't be surprised to see Derian Hatcher get a
chance to play up front on the power play, if for no other reason than
to get a big presence in the slot area.
For 40 minutes in Game 1 the Stars were the superior team, but they
stopped attacking and went into a defensive shell in the third period.
In Game 2 the Stars need to get back to controlling the boards on
the forecheck, and get back to winning big faceoffs -- especially in
their own zone. Guy
Carbonneau will have to come up with a big face-off game.
DALLAS -- That collective Ouch! you hear is David stomping squarely
on Goliath's big toe.
Which opens the door for finger-pointing and I-told-you-sos -- something
that the Dallas Stars
probably didn't consider as fallout from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The younger and angrier Buffalo Sabres buffaloed
their bigger, more-experienced hosts in Tuesday's series opener, playing
matador to the Stars' charge. Dallas' anemic power play gets most of the
blame -- a 1-for-10 percentage is inexcusable at this stage -- but lost in
the number-crunching and shot totals was the Sabres' grit, and their
After chasing Stars and being outshot 24-9 through the first two periods,
Buffalo rebounded with a 10-6 shot advantage in the third. The Sabres
played even-steven with Dallas in the overtime, firing five shots to
"Let's not forget how nervous everybody was," said Buffalo's Jason Woolley , who
scored the game-winner at 15:30 of overtime, and cited the Texas heat and
his team's nine-day layoff as contributing factors in the Sabres' early
No excuse, according to the Stars.
"They played with a lot of passion and maybe we didn't play with enough
passion out there," veteran center Guy Carbonneau said. "That to
me is unacceptable."
Carbonneau won two Stanley Cups with Montreal (in 1986 and 1993) and ought
to know. "Go ask the guys on the power play," he added after being
consulted for his take on the offensive failures.
Winger Pat Verbeek blamed it on a loss of one-on-one battles. Nor
would he hear of Dominik Hasek 's contribution; The Dominator
stopped 37 shots compared to his teammates' 24, but phooey say the
"I don't want to talk about his game," Verbeek said. "He's not the reason
we lost the game."
Hasek had a hand in it, blanking Verbeek twice in overtime. But more
likely, the Stars lost their focus in the third period, when all the
power-play O-fers began to mount and the Sabres struck twice to take a 2-1
lead. Jere Lehtinen
's last-chance goal with less than a minute remaining earned the Stars
a chance for overtime redemption, but Woolley's game-winner set off
Wednesday's morning-after speculation.
"That's what happens when you press that hard and you have that many
chances," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That many just-abouts,
sometimes those things come back and haunt you like that."
Expect it to haunt the Stars in Wednesday's practice. Hitchcock promised
as much late Tuesday. And to his credit, Dallas goalie Ed Belfour didn't
publicly blast his teammates when a 37-24 shot advantage should have
negated the two that slip ped past him.
"We're definitely disappointed, but we can't do anything about it," he
said. "And we all have to play better."
So don't look for any obvious back-biting. Or for Goliath to crumble so
Or, as Woolley said, "We're a long way from done and we know that."
| Storylines We're Following
He insists he's fine, despite the pop
that he says he took from Verbeek in the Stars' final offensive flurry.
Hasek sprawled face-down on the ice once Woolley's shot escaped Belfour,
then stomped off to the dressing room alone instead of joining his
teammates in a celebratory mob.
Reunion Arena's much-maligned surface held
up OK, considering outdoor temperatures in the low-90s at the opening
faceoff. Except for a few quick linesmen's repairs following goal-mouth
scrambles or hard slides into the boards, there were no obvious crises.
Buffalo left wing Michal Grosek left the
ice late in the first period with back spasms. He missed the final five
regular- season games with the same ailment, and there's no word on his
return. Dallas defenseman Sergei Zubov used his
right cheek to contain the puck inside Buffalo's blue line, but expect him
back with stitches and a bad bruise.
Three Stars |
| Each day throughout the Stanley Cup
finals, we'll take a look at three key individuals. |
1. Jason Woolley . How obvious. He also entered Game 1 with 13
playoff points (three goals, 10 assists) .
2. Dominik Hasek . Dallas sour grapes aside, Tuesday's win
wouldn't have happened without him.
3. The Brett Hull-Mike
Modano-Jere Lehtinen line . They were the Dallas offense. Two
goals and three assists.