Hasek gets his sixth shutout of the playoffs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings were convinced a year
ago that all they needed to reclaim the Stanley Cup was the goalie
who could never seem to win it.

So, to add the last missing piece to the NHL's oldest but most
talented team, they landed Dominik Hasek -- and, now, at age 37,
Hasek is one victory away from winning the cup he has chased for a

Hasek put on a spectacular show for his record sixth shutout of
the playoffs, and the Red Wings again got goals from Brett Hull and
Igor Larionov to beat Carolina 3-0 Monday night in Game 4 of the
Stanley Cup finals.

With Hasek and the seemingly ageless Hull and Larionov playing
like kids again, the Red Wings opened a 3-1 lead in the
best-of-seven series. They can win their third Stanley Cup in six
years in Game 5 Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, where they last
clinched the cup in 1997. They won in 1998 by finishing a four-game
sweep in Washington.

"We're within one game and certainly the excitement is there,
but you've got to bury it and you can't get too far ahead,'' said
Brendan Shanahan, who scored Detroit's other goal.

For the second straight game, the Red Wings' biggest goals came
from the 37-year-old Hull and the 41-year-old Larionov, who
combined for all three scores in Detroit's momentum-shifting,
three-overtime 3-2 victory in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Hull got the game's first goal with a shot off the post in the
second period, his 23rd game-winning goal in the playoffs and his
fourth game-winning goal in the finals in four years.

Larionov -- the oldest player in the NHL -- made it 2-0 by scoring
early in the third period. It was his third goal in two games,
including the game-winning goal late in the third overtime of Game
3 that potentially swung the series to Detroit.

"The break we got was scoring the first goal,'' said Red Wings
coach Scotty Bowman, who, fittingly, is the league's oldest coach
at 68. "The first goal in a game like this is big. ... But we've
been in this position before (one victory from winning the cup),
and we've got to stay away from all the hoopla.

"I feel we have enough experienced guys who have been in this
position and can help the ones who haven't been in this position.''

The way Hasek was playing, though, one goal would have been
enough. Arguably the best goalie in NHL history without a Stanley
Cup ring, Hasek did it all in his best game of the finals, often
wandering far from the net to stop shots and begin up-ice rushes
while making 17 saves in his first shutout of the series.

His six playoff shutouts this spring are two more than any
previous goalie, and he extended his scoreless streak in the series
to 127 minutes, 13 seconds, one that began in the third period of
Game 3. He has 12 career playoff shutouts.

"This game was by far our best defensive game,'' Hasek said.
"The whole team deserved the shutout because it was a great
defensive effort.''

Hasek's most brilliant play was a save-or-else stop on Erik Cole
to keep the game scoreless late in the first period.

Cole, scoreless in 10 games, got loose by skating around
defenseman Chris Chelios, only to be surprised when Hasek became
his own defenseman by coming out to the top of the right circle to
poke the puck away.

"He's so good at anticipating what's going to happen in those
situations,'' Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "He saw
the guy was skating with his head down, so he came out and made a
great play.''

Carolina's Arturs Irbe played well, stopping 24 shots, but he
almost needed to be perfect to match Hasek.

"We had absolutely nothing going tonight,'' Carolina coach Paul
Maurice said.

Still, despite their worst loss of the series, the Hurricanes
refused to concede it is over, even if no team in the last 60
seasons has rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

"We still have an opportunity here,'' captain Ron Francis said.
"That's what we have to focus on -- Game 5. We can't look beyond

With both teams showing the fatigue of Saturday night in a
scoreless first period, Hull finally opened the scoring early in
the second period. Working a 3-on-2 rush started by Hasek's
breakout pass, Hull skated down the left wing and took Boyd
Devereaux's cross-ice pass to one-time a shot off the left goal
post and into the net before Irbe could react at 6:32.

Hull's league-leading 10th goal of the playoffs came on the Red
Wings' first shot of the period and made him the fourth player in
the NHL history with 100 career playoff goals. Hull now trails
Wayne Gretzky (122), Mark Messier (109) and Jari Kurri (106) in
career playoff goals.

After scoring, Hull looked up and gave a little wink, as if to
say, "Had it all the way.''

"There once was talk you couldn't win a Stanley Cup with Brett
Hull,'' said Hull, who, just as Hasek, joined the Red Wings before
this season. "But then you win a cup (with Dallas) and all of a
sudden get 100 goals, and maybe people look differently at that.''

Carolina has only 13 goals in eight games and six in the first
four games of the series. But the Hurricanes had a great
opportunity to tie the game on a power play midway through the

Bret Hedican's rebound deflected to Jeff O'Neill, who
immediately directed it across the crease to Francis, leaving the
right side of the net open.

But Francis' one-timer deflected off the left post and bounced
harmlessly away -- even as the goal horn momentarily sounded -- and a
surprised and very much relieved Hasek covered it up.

"It was right on the edge. He was very close to scoring a
goal,'' Hasek said. "It was exactly when the game was on the edge,
and he had a wide-open net. I just jumped; I thought the puck was
in the net. All of a sudden, I heard puck hit the post and it came
right back to me.''

Francis looked up at the scoreboard and watched the replay,
almost not believing that he missed.

The loss was the Hurricanes' fourth in their last five home
playoff games, while Detroit improved to 8-2 on road. The Red Wings
have won five of their last six overall, losing only Game 1 to
Carolina 3-2 in overtime.

Game notes
Detroit has allowed only one power-play goal in 35 chances
over its last eight games. ... Detroit is 21-4-0-1 against the
Eastern Conference this season. ... Bowman won his record 35th
career playoff finals game, one more than former Montreal coach Toe
Blake. ... Detroit is 11-2 when scoring the first goal and 9-0 when
leading after two periods. ... The only team to overcome a 3-1
deficit in finals was Toronto in 1942, which was down 3-0 and
rallied to beat Detroit.