Third Wings goalie hurt; expected to start

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:41 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Just when the Detroit Red Wings' goaltending situation seemed to be settling down, Manny Legace was hit on his helmet by a puck toward the end of practice Friday.

Detroit coach Dave Lewis said tests were negative, and Legace was still scheduled to start for the Red Wings on Saturday in Game 2 of their first-round series against Nashville.

"I asked him if he was all right. and he seemed to be OK," teammate Kirk Maltby said. "He left smiling."

Legace left practice without making himself available for comment.

The career backup made 23 saves in his first career playoff start in Detroit's 3-1 win over the Predators on Wednesday.

"After his performance in Game 1, there's no reason not to start him," Lewis said.

The Red Wings are comfortable with Legace as their goalie, even though he was their third option earlier this season.

With Dominik Hasek out because of a groin injury and Curtis Joseph hobbled with an ankle injury, Legace has become the team's No. 1 goalie.

Hasek started the season as the top goalie, but was limited to just 14 games because of a groin injury. He announced Feb. 10 he would miss the rest of the season.

Joseph sprained his right ankle Feb. 11 and he missed a month. He played in five games before re-injuring his ankle during warmups March 23 at San Jose.

"My objective is to get back to where I want to be with my ankle and be ready," Joseph said after practicing Friday.

Unlike the Red Wings, the Predators have had no such drama in net this season.

Tomas Vokoun, who played in 73 regular-season games, shut out the Red Wings for two periods before allowing three third-period goals in his first playoff start.

He stood in front of shots for 20 minutes Thursday during an optional skate.

"That's what you ask your goaltenders to do every night," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.

The Predators were given permission by the NHL to return home between Game 1 on Wednesday and Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.

"We felt we had been on the road a lot," Trotz said. "We're able to get here in our own environment and not be sitting around the hotel, just keep lives as normal as possible."

For Game 2, the Predators will be without standout defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who left Wednesday's game with what the team is calling "an upper body injury."

Predators general manager David Poile said Zidlicky, who left Game 1 in the opening minutes after being checked into the boards by Maltby, could play in Sunday's Game 3 in Nashville. Poile said the team doesn't plan to disclose the specific injury.

"We think he is going to play in this series," Poile said. "The opposition has been known to go after a guy any way to get an advantage, and we don't want to put Marek at risk."

Zidlicky, who plays on the Predators' No. 1 power play, was third on the team during the regular season with 53 points. Trotz said rookie Dan Hamhuis or Sergei Zholtok likely will replace Zidlicky on the power play.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press