Series (Game 5 of 5)

Detroit leads 5-0

Game 1: Sunday, December 8th
Red Wings4
Game 2: Tuesday, December 31st
Red Wings5
Game 3: Friday, March 7th
Red Wings7
Game 4: Saturday, March 22nd
Red Wings4Final
Game 5: Saturday, March 29th
Red Wings6Final

Red Wings 6

(46-20-3, 104 pts)

Blues 2

(41-22-6, 97 pts)

1:30 PM ET, March 29, 2003

Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

1 2 3 T
DET 2 1 36
STL 1 0 12

P. Datsyuk (Red Wings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

B. Hull (Red Wings - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

M. Legace (Red Wings - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .917

Pronger gets first goal, but Hull gets hat trick

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Pronger was excited to be back on the ice -- until he had to try to stop Brett Hull.

Chris Pronger

Chris Pronger and the Blues need to overcome their terrible history against the Red Wings.

Hull's 33rd career hat trick lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, spoiling Pronger's return to the lineup.

Pronger scored in his first game back for St. Louis. The 2000 NHL MVP and Norris Trophy winner missed the first 77 games of the season while recovering from knee and wrist surgery.

"It's always nice to be back on the ice and playing, but I realized I've got a lot of work I need to do," Pronger said. "As a team we've got a lot of work we need to do and we need to continue to get better."

Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov also scored for the Red Wings, who have won 19 of 22 (19-2-0-1). Pronger was on the ice for five Detroit goals.

"Hullie made a couple of nice plays," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "We played the way we wanted to play, but they scored on about every scoring chance they had."

Hull did not speak with reporters. His teammates were happy to talk about him.

"This was a big game for both teams and Brett carried us," Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios said. "We played well offensively, especially Brett, and were able to limit them on offense."

The Red Wings went 4-0-0-1 against the Blues this season.

The teams combined for 219 penalty minutes in the third period. There were two prolonged fights involving all the players on the ice in the game's final two minutes.

A chair wound up near center ice with 35 seconds to go, but it was not apparent who threw it and none of the players or coaches would say.

In addition, Detroit coach Dave Lewis and Quenneville shouted at each other during the final minute of the game.

"I think they challenged us and we won every battle," Lewis said. "Any battle we were thrown into, we seemed to win. I'm very happy with the results.

"I knew exactly what they were doing. I was just surprised it happened twice."

Detroit's Darren McCarty said the outcome of the game was more important than winning the fights.

"Winning is the most important thing to us," McCarty said. "We don't initiate anything, but we can handle it."

Tyson Nash scored the other St. Louis goal.

Hull, who also had an assist, leads the Red Wings with 36 goals. His last hat trick came against Ottawa on March 16.

Hull scored at 11:33 of the first period to make it 1-0. He got behind Pronger, took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and chipped the puck past goaltender Chris Osgood.

Datysuk scored his 11th of the season at 14:32 to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. He split defensemen Bryce Salvador and Pronger and jammed the puck past Osgood.

Pronger scored at 16:31 of the first period. Blues center Steve Martins won a faceoff, and Pronger powered a shot past goalie Manny Legace.

Lidstrom added a power-play goal at 18:10 of the second to make it 3-1.

Nash's goal came at 12:22 of the third to cut the lead to 3-2, but Fedorov scored less than a minute later.

Hull capped the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:06 and another goal at 18:47 of the third period.

Legace stopped 22 shots, while Osgood made 15 saves.

"Manny was excellent," Lewis said. "This was a game Manny was ready to play."

Game notes
Detroit has 16 power-play goals in its last 16 games. ... The last time St. Louis beat Detroit was April 14, 2002, at Savvis Center. ... Detroit had vocal crowd support. The St. Louis starters were booed during introductions. ... Valeri Bure played his first game for St. Louis since being acquired from Florida. ... Legace assisted on Datsyuk's goal, his first assist of the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press