Work in Sports
DETROIT (Ticker) -- Martin Lapointe recorded his first career playoff hat track as the Detroit Red Wings survived a shootout and outlasted the Los Angeles Kings, 8-5, to grab a two games to none lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Captain Steve Yzerman returned to the lineup after missing Game One with the flu, but it was Lapointe who carried the Red Wings. He completed the hat track with his second power-play goal at 9:33 of the second period to make it 6-3 and Detroit held off a furious' Kings' comeback.
Lapointe, who had only 14 goals in his previous 72 playoff games, registered his only other hat trick against the New York Rangers on March 26.
"Obviously, it's special when you score three goals in a playoff game, but I don't think there will be any more games like this in the series," Lapointe said. "I'm sure both teams will make defensive adjustments before Game Three."
Los Angeles pulled within 6-5 when Ziggy Palffy slid a wrist shot past goaltender Chris Osgood 71 seconds into the final period. But Nicklas Lidstrom provided insurance for Detroit with 9:18 remaining and added an empty-net goal with 37 seconds left.
"The way we played today should be a sign to all of you that we aren't going to just fade away," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "There were a lot of points when we could have just let them walk all over us, but we didn't do that. We kept hanging around."
With the Kings pressing for the equalizer, Lidstrom took a pass from Yzerman at from the top of the slot and snapped a one-timer past Jamie Storr's pads, killing the Kings' momentum.
Both teams had more than 40 shots, with the Kings firing 44 at Chris Osgood and the Red Wings peppering Stephane Fiset and Storr with 42.
Special teams were a huge factor as the Red Wings were 3-for-6 on the power play and the Kings 0-for-6. Kris Draper scored a pair of goals for Detroit and Yzerman collected two assists.
"I don't think we played as carelessly as it looks," Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said. "I think (the Kings) threw caution to the wind, and that's really tough to defend against. The important thing was our power play was effective. If not for the power play, we'd probably still be playing."
"You have to get production from all different guys in the playoffs," Detroit defenseman Larry Murphy added. "We know that Marty and Drapes aren't going to lead us in scoring, but they always score some big goals in the playoffs."
It was a dramatic reversal from Detroit's 2-0 victory in Game One, when the Red Wings played a tight-checking game and limited Los Angeles to 19 shots.
After playing a defensive game in the opener, Los Angeles tried to run-and-gun with the Red Wings. The strategy did not work, although the Kings kept constant pressure on Osgood.
The game got off to an explosive start as the teams set a playoff record by combining for six goals in the first 6:56. On April 7, 1988, Detroit and Toronto combined for six goals in the opening 10:22.
"We're not used to that type of game, and I'm sure they aren't, either," Lapointe added. "We don't usually give up goals like that, not five."
Brendan Shanahan and Lapointe scored in the first 93 seconds to give Detroit a quick 2-0 lead. The Kings kept answering, halving three two-goal deficits in the period.
After Lapointe banged in Yzerman's rebound to make it 4-2 at 6:56, Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell scored on a scramble in front with 24 seconds remaining to cap the seven-goal opening period.
"We got the lead early, but they really applied a lot of offensive pressure," Murphy said. "That's really tough on a defense, especially with a team that can score like that. That's why we can't take them for granted."
Draper scored on a slap shot 3:27 into the second to give Detroit a 5-3 lead and send Fiset to the bench. He surrendered five goals on 17 shots, while Storr yielded two goals on 25 shots.
"I felt we let Stephane down," Murray said. "We were giving them goals on a silver platter. I think the only real difference in this game was that they scored three power-play goals."
Craig Johnson's unassisted tally pulled the Kings within 5-4 with 8:17 left in the second period.
Los Angeles suffered its 10th straight playoff loss and is looking for its first postseason victory since winning Game One of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals against Montreal.
Fiset, however, is not ready to throw up the white flag.
"We proved to them we can score some goals, too," he said. "We scored five goals. It's not over."
Game Three is Monday in Los Angeles.