Work in Sports
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- First-round sweeps are nothing new for the Detroit Red Wings or the Los Angeles Kings.
Chris Osgood stopped 25 shots for his eighth career playoff shutout and Pat Verbeek and Larry Murphy scored power-play goals late in the second period as the Red Wings completed a sweep of the Western Conference quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory over the Kings.
Sergei Fedorov added his third playoff goal as Detroit recorded the 10th series sweep in team history and second in as many years. The Red Wings also needed only four games to dispose of Anaheim in last year's West quarterfinals.
"Everyone looks at a four-game series and they look at it as if it was a blowout or something like that," Red Wings right wing Darren McCarty said. "This was a battle, each shift, game in and game out."
Verbeek opened the scoring with 2:50 left in the first period when he one-timed Fedorov's cross-ice feed past goaltender Stephane Fiset for his first point of the series.
The Red Wings capitalized on Mattias Norstrom's penalty for holding-the-stick with 19 seconds remaining in the first, doing so in controversial fashion. During a goalmouth scramble, Murphy pinched in from the point and lifted the puck over Fiset for his first goal of the series.
"We know what we did wrong," Kings center Ian Laperriere said. "They were smarter than we were. They didn't let their tempers get away from them. We retaliated and they didn't, so the penalties led to power plays and that's what beats you."
Los Angles coach Andy Murray argued that Fiset was knocked over by McCarty during the scramble, but the goal counted.
"We all saw the replay and the referees said they missed the call," Murray said. "I think our guys didn't take that second goal very well. (Detroit's) defense changed after that second goal. They tightened their defense and didn't have to worry about scoring."
"Bob Corkum tackled me from the side and it knocked me forward over Fiset," McCarty said. "It was kind of like one of their goals they scored in that second game at Detroit."
The Red Wings, who are trying to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in four years, went 7-for-18 on the power play in the last three games after going 0-for-6 in the series opener.
Detroit also killed all 24 Kings' power plays.
"Our goaltending has been terrific in this series," Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said. "When you look at the stats it looks like we scored well on the power play, but on the other hand our penalty-killing was strong."
Osgood made his presence felt early when he robbed Laperriere off a rebound from in close 35 seconds into the game. He continued his stellar play in the third period, stoning Nelson Emerson on consecutive shots early before kicking away Zigmund Palffy's wrister from the right side with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
"This is a good defensive team and we worked very hard and very well together," Osgood said. "This will give us confidence to continue to do what we're doing."
Fiset stopped 25 shots and was in the nets for three of the four losses to drop to 1-7 lifetime in the playoffs. His only win came with the Quebec Nordiques in 1995.
"For sure, they have a great team," he said. "I think we can compare our team with them. We have got a pretty good team, too. The difference probably in this round has been our power play. On their power play, they were scoring and on ours, we didn't. It's not pointing a finger at anybody, but we probably lost the round right there."
Los Angeles has lost 12 straight playoff games and six in a row at home in the postseason since the 1993 Western Conference finals.
"It just wasn't our night and not our series," Kings rookie center Jason Blake said. "But Detroit earned everything they got. They played outstanding and we learned a thing or two."
The start of the third period was delayed for several minutes after the halogen lights failed at the Staples Center.