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Series at a Glance

Wings and Kings begin long quest for rings

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Posted: Wednesday April 12, 2000 06:39 PM

By David Vecsey,

For a year now, the Detroit Red Wings have had to watch the Dallas Stars parade around with their Cup. Through the summer and an 82-game season, the former two-time defending champs had to be NOT the defending champs.

The Wings have never strayed from their course, however. Not only did they keep their core intact, but they continued to pick up all the wayfaring veterans tossed out into the open seas by other teams. Steve Duchesne, Pat Verbeek, Todd Gill ... all playing like they've been Red Wings since birth.

For the Los Angeles Kings, this whole season has been about reinventing themselves. New coach, new building and big offseason trade of top-shelf snipers. They still seek their first Stanley Cup championship. To get it, they'll have to get through a Western Conference field that includes four teams that won championships in the 1990s.

Season Series Recap

Los Angeles 1, Detroit 1

DETROIT, Nov. 3 -- The Kings, leading the league in offense, were outshot 32-19 and held to one goal for the first time, but still extended their unbeaten streak to six games and sent an important message to powerful Detroit. Steve Yzerman scored a first-period goal, but Ziggy Palffy scored the equalizer with less than a minute left in the second period. The Wings, on a three-game winless streak after a seven-game unbeaten streak, were thwarted time and time again by Stephane Fiset, who made 31 saves. "They outplayed us for most of the game. But we got a point out of it, and we'll take that point and go home," said L.A. captain Rob Blake. At 9-3-3, the Kings are off to their best start in 19 years.

Detroit 3, Los Angeles 1

DETROIT, Dec. 10 -- Steve Yzerman scored twice and Slava Kozlov scored a power play goal after a controversial slashing call on Glen Murray as Detroit won for the sixth time in eight games. Playing without leading scorer Zigmund Palffy and captain Rob Blake, the Kings had a four-game unbeaten streak stopped by former L.A. goalie Manny Legace, who made 27 saves. The Kings are 2-7-3 in their last 12 trips to Joe Louis Arena.

Los Angeles 6, Detroit 3

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 -- Jozef Stumpel, Bryan Smolinski and Luc Robitaille scored 80 seconds apart in the second period as the Kings won consecutive games for the first time since mid-November. You can't blame the offense, the Kings have at least five goals in three of their last four games. Ziggy Palffy scored twice for L.A., which also ended a three-game winless streak against Detroit. Sergei Fedorov scored twice, giving him five goals in as many games.

Los Angeles 3, Detroit 2

DETROIT, Feb. 18 -- Luc Robitaille scored a bad-angle goal on Chris Osgood early in the third period and Stephane Fiset made 33 saves as L.A. won its fifth straight. Kings coach Andy Murray sees this as a huge win. "It's a great feeling to come in here and beat a team that is on a roll," he said. "People are going to think of the L.A. Kings in different terms. We want to get into the playoffs. Maybe this time people won't be licking their chops to play us. Before, they'd see the L.A. Kings coming and start looking to the second round of the playoffs." Sergei Fedorov left the game early in the second period with a bruised hand after a big check from Bob Corkum.

Detroit 3, Los Angeles 1

LOS ANGELES, March 7 -- Nicklas Lidstrom scored on goal and set up Sergei Fedorov's short-handed game-winner as the Red Wings ran their unbeaten streak to five games. Pat Verbeek also scored for Detroit, which held L.A. to 15 shots over the first two periods. Playing without injured No. 1 goaltender Stephane Fiset, Los Angeles fell into a tie for sixth in the West with Colorado and Edmonton.

Storylines We're Following

Dinged Wings

Yan Golubovsky had his face rearranged by puck in the season finale against Colorado, joining fellow defenseman Chris Chelios in the Picasso model lookalike contest. Chelios, sticked in the face Friday night, will be nice a surly in Game 1. Brendan Shanahan took a puck in the face during warmups Sunday, while Slava Kozlov returned after sitting out with a mild concussion. Tomas Holmstrom didn't play after taking a blow to the head in the penultimate game. Also banged up are Steve Yzerman (sprained right knee), Darren McCarty (groin), and Aaron Ward (shoulder).

Winged Kings

Winger Ziggy Palffy, sidelined since March 15 because of a sprained shoulder, and defenseman Rob Blake, who suffered a bone bruise on his knee, each returned for the season finale but are feeling the effects of missed time right before the playoffs.

Behind the bench

How fitting is it that Andy Murray goes into his first playoff series opposing Scotty Bowman and his eight Stanley Cup championships? Murray, who was coaching a high school team last year, has installed a disciplined defensive system in L.A., very similar to Bowman's since-lessened left-wing lock of a couple years ago.

Man of the Hour

Scotty Bowman. They thought he might retire when he tied mentor Toe Blake with his eighth Cup title in 1998. Then they thought he might move on when he underwent heart surgery at the start of last season. Wrong and wrong. Scotty is gunning for a record ninth Stanley Cup.

Man on the Spot

Chris Osgood. He is every year at the start of the playoffs, no matter how well he has played in the regular season and no matter that he does have two rings. Ozzie can never seem to break into the upper echelon of goalies and is constantly referred to as Detroit's weak link.

Stretch runs Since Feb. 18, the Wings have gone 3-5-3 against playoff-bound teams; the Kings went 5-4-4 to end the season
Bryan Smolinski out 4-6 weeks with torn ligament in his right knee
Venues Nice contrast between grand old Joe Louis and brand new Staples Center
Refundable Prediction

Detroit will win four straight ... even if it loses the first three.

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