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Hockey

No escape?

Red Wings try to complete sweep of Mighty Ducks

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Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 01:23 PM

  Outnumbered: Anaheim's Paul Kariya (center) managed only three shots in the third game of the series. AP

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg called the Detroit Red Wings "probably the best hockey team in the world."

As the Red Wings' opening playoff series against Anaheim has shown, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are, at the very least, out of the Mighty Ducks' league.

"We've certainly been getting taught a pretty good lesson from the best team in hockey," Hartsburg said after practice Monday. "This has to be a learning experience. We have to take something from this."

Mighty Ducks left wing Paul Kariya agreed.

"We're seeing what it takes to win in the playoffs. That's how you get better," said Kariya, who has scored only one goal in the series. "When you see guys doing well, you try to take from their game, and take from their team game. That's what we're trying to do, but we obviously had a long way to go."

The education of the Mighty Ducks probably won't last much Longer. Up 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, Detroit can finish things off by winning Tuesday night in Anaheim. Still, the Red Wings, who have outscored Anaheim 14-6 in the series, are trying not to look beyond Game 4.

"We've found that fourth win in a series is always tougher," Detroit left wing Brendan Shanahan said. "That's a proud group of guys over there and we really saw them play a different game [in the Red Wings' 4-2 win in Game 3 in Anaheim]. We're not taking anything for granted."

The Red Wings' go-ahead goal in Game 3, scored by Steve Yzerman in the second period, came with Detroit holding a two-man advantage because of a lapse in judgment by Anaheim defenseman Stu Grimson.

Yzerman scored with Travis Green in the penalty box for elbowing and Grimson in the dressing room after getting a five-minute match penalty for checking Kris Draper into the glass from behind.

Grimson, who said afterward that the game turned on that moment, and that his hit was "overly aggressive" and "inappropriate," was suspended by the league Monday for one game. He'll sit out Game 4.

While Grimson's mistake was costly, the story of the series has been the play of the Detroit defense, especially Chris Chelios and Niklas Lidstrom, on the Mighty Ducks' high-scoring duo of Teemu Selanne and Kariya.

Selanne, who led the league with 47 goals this season, did not get off a single shot on goal in the third game. Kariya, who didn't have a shot on the net in the second game, managed three in Game 3, only one after the first period.

"I think both Lidstrom and Chelios are both playing so well. And there are always three forwards back-checking at 100 mph," said Selanne, whose two goals in the series both came after the Red Wings had taken control of the games.

While Selanne and Kariya have been mostly silenced, Yzerman has had a very noisy series, scoring five goals.

The Red Wings also are strong in number.

"Of all the contenders [for the Stanley Cup], they have the most depth," Hartsburg said. "They also have the most accomplished coach ever to coach the game. It's quite a mix."

Detroit coach Scotty Bowman is going for his eighth Stanley Cup title. But despite their dire situation, Hartsburg and his players don't want to bow out without a fight.

"We'll play as tough as we can," he said. "We can't be down about it."

"I think we played our best game (Sunday), so we've been getting better," Kariya said. "If we can win the next game, I think it would give us a sense of accomplishment, that we've gotten better."

 
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