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Halfway home

Draper's OT goal gives Wings 2-0 lead over Caps

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Posted: Friday June 12, 1998 02:00 AM

  Firepower: Draper (left) beat Kolzig for the decisive overtime goal as the Red Wings outshot the Capitals 60-33 (AP)

DETROIT (CNN/SI) -- The Detroit Red Wings have been here before. Just ask the Washington Capitals.

The Red Wings' playoff experience paid off Thursday night.

Kris Draper scored with 4:36 left in the first overtime period as the Red Wings, down two goals in the third period, came back for a 5-4 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals on Thursday night.

Since the best-of-seven format was introduced, only three NHL teams have rallied to win the Cup after losing the first two games of the finals. Montreal was the last in 1971.

"This is a great win for us, a great win for our team," Draper said after his first goal of the playoffs and the biggest of his career. "It just shows the character we have. We felt if we kept going and kept going, we'd have the chance to win and we did."

The series now shifts to Washington for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Tuesday. "We'll bounce back," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "We lost two games by a goal in Detroit. We're going home and we'll bounce back."

Steve Yzerman scored twice and Martin LaPointe and Doug Brown once, with Brown capping a late two-goal rally with the game-tying goal with 4:14 to play in regulation.

Peter Bondra, Chris Simon, Adam Oates and Joe Juneau scored for Washington.

The game winner, which snapped a Washington string of five straight overtime victories, came on a play on which Brendan Shanahan got control of the puck in the right corner and feathered it to LaPointe. He seemed to see Draper cruising in front of the net and goaltender Olaf Kolzig and centered the puck across the slot. Draper redirected it past the defenseless Kolzig, who seemed to be expecting a shot from the circle.

"I came out on a line change and I don't think anyone saw me," Draper said. "I went to the net with my stick on the ice and one-timed it. Martin made a great pass. You can see by the smile how happy I am."

Not all bad news: Kolzig notched 55 saves in the game, including 12 in the overtime period (AP) 

The goal capped an outstanding game in which the teams scored nine goals and took 93 shots, with the 60th by Detroit being the game-winner.

It also spoiled another great game by Kolzig, who had 55 saves.

"This is the Stanley Cup final in Detroit and it was a chance to even the series, so this might be our toughest loss," Kolzig said. "But time and time again, we have a lot of veterans in this dressing room and time and time again we've bounced back. We'll see how we do Saturday."

The Capitals seemed on the verge of tying the series after building a 4-2 lead with less than 12 minutes to play and Kolzig playing great in goal.

However, the Red Wings increased their intensity and attacked at every chance in a period in which they had 20 shots.

LaPointe narrowed the margin to 4-3 by one-timing a great backhand cross-ice pass by Igor Larionov past Kolzig with 11:52 left in regulation.

Esa Tikkanen missed an open net that could have iced the game for Washington about two minutes later and Brown eventually tied the game with 4:14 left with a shot from in close after intercepting a clearing pass around the boards.

"We had the win on the tip of Tik's stick," Wilson said.

Both teams had great chances to win in the closing minutes of regulation. Goalie Chris Osgood stopped Brian Bellows in close with about two minutes left, and Kolzig had to make at least three good saves.

  Osgood (right) made 29 saves, but only faced 10 shots in the third and overtime periods (AP)

Bondra, Simon and Oates scored in a nine-minute second-period span to stake the Capitals to a 3-1 lead.

A shorthanded goal by Yzerman cut the margin to 3-2 midway through the third period. Facing a two-goal deficit, the Red Wings rallied like champions and tied the game in the final 11:52 on goals by Lapointe and Brown in close.

The Capitals has seemingly taken control early in the second period when Bondra scored a somewhat controversial goal.

Well this is a very important game for the NHL. These Stanley Cup playoffs are operating on two levels. Number one, who's going to win the Cup -- Detroit or Washington. Number two, and perhaps even more importantly, is can these games entertain the fans. The NHL is struggling right now. TV ratings are very low. After a Prozac first game, the NHL needed a big time second game. It got it Game 2.

Before the series started we talked about the Red Wings' superior depth. We saw that tonight in the third period and overtime. Coach Scott Bowman had the confidence in his team to use three lines and three defense pairings. Ron Wilson, the coach of the Capitals, had to shorten his bench and use only two defense pairs in the third period and overtime. And eventually Washington ran down.

Oh this (win) is huge. And especially Esa Tikkanen. He had the game on his stick. He puts that gimme in, the Capitals are up two goals with fewer than 10 minutes left. It is a huge gaff. The biggest in Stanley Cup history since 1993, the second when Marty McSorley was caught with an illegal stick. Esa Tikkanen is going to think about that forever.

Defenseman Jeff Brown shot the puck from his own faceoff circle across the Red Wings goal line. Bondra raced in, got the puck and beat Osgood from the left circle on a play in which the Detroit goaltender seemed to relax, thinking linesman Kevin Collins was going to whistle either an offside or icing.

Collins didn't make the call because Andrei Nikolishin barely touched the puck at center ice, negating the two-line pass. When Bondra got to the puck first and thus the icing was wiped out.

Washington capitalized on two mistakes after that with Simon scoring his first goal of the playoffs on a rebound at 6:11 and Oates tallying on a breakaway at 11:03 after Nicklas Lidstrom failed to handle a puck at his own blue line.

Yzerman, who had at least a half-dozen good scoring chances, woke up the Detroit offense by scoring on a two-on-one short-handed breakaway at 6:37.

Juneau scored from the slot 37 seconds later to tie the game.

Holmstrom, who set up both Detroit goals in Game 1, got the Red Wings going again in Game 2 by setting up Yzerman at 7:49. Kolzig stopped Yzerman's initial shot from the left circle, but the Red Wings captain got the rebound and flipped it home.

Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov, injured in a limousine accident just six days after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup last year, attended their second playoff game at Joe Louis Arena in less than two weeks.


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Capitals-Red Wings Game 2 Summary
frame The Red Wings fought back to tie the Capitals, but both teams needed an extra period to settle the score
  • Start( .MOV)
The Capitals held a 3-1 lead in the third period, but Yzerman and Brown led Detroit back ()
Kris Draper on getting the game-winning shot in overtime ()
Kris Draper explains how the goal rates in his hockey career ()
Capitals coach Ron Wilson explains why his team lost ()
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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