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Red Wings drop first two games at home

4/14/2003

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings are in playoff trouble --
again.

Anaheim's Stanislav Chistov, Jason Krog and Steve Thomas scored
as the Mighty Ducks rallied to beat the defending Stanley Cup
champion Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the
first-round series.

Last year, before Detroit won its third title in six seasons, it
dropped the first two games of the first round at home to Vancouver
before winning four straight to advance.

"Just because we did it last year doesn't mean we're going to
do it this year," Detroit's Brendan Shanahan said. "But we've got
that experience to draw on."

Game 3 is Monday night in Anaheim.

If the Red Wings are able to win four of five against Anaheim,
they will be just the third NHL team to come back from a 2-0
deficit in a best-of-seven series in consecutive years. The New
York Islanders did it during the 1975 and 1976 playoffs and
Pittsburgh pulled off the feat in 1991 and 1992.

The Mighty Ducks were still in their sweat-drenched uniforms by
the time they were reminded of how Detroit rallied in the same
situation last season.

"Even though we're up two games, I have so much respect for
that team," said Thomas, who scored the game-winning goal with
4:14 left. "It's important to keep composure and to stay on an
even keel right now."

While Hockeytown is stunned, the Mighty Ducks are not. They
don't even think they've played well.

"I don't know why we haven't played like we can play," Anaheim
coach Mike Babcock said. "It's like we're so cautious, we're so
worried about them instead of skating and playing the game."

Detroit was ahead 2-1 in the second period after solving
Jean-Sebastien Giguere and appeared set to tie the series, but Krog
tied the game with 6:26 left and Thomas followed 2:12 later with
his game-winner.

When Thomas' slap shot from the left circle beat Curtis Joseph --
who made 20 saves -- the sold-out crowd fell into stunned silence.

"There's no question in my mind that he is not going to sleep
tonight," Thomas said.

As the Red Wings skated off the ice, they were booed briefly.

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch stands to lose a lot of money on his
$68-million team if the revenue he's counting on from the playoffs
disappears with an early Detroit exit. The Red Wings could be
eliminated before playing another home game but Ilitch insisted
he's not worried.

"I have confidence in my guys," Ilitch said as he walked
toward his car.

Detroit captain Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings don't deserve
to be down 2-0.

"I think we played reasonably well in spite of losing,"
Yzerman said.

Babcock, a rookie NHL head coach, agreed.

"They outplayed us in both games," Babcock said.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead 7:17 in on its third shot.

Chistov's goal came from an improbable angle. From the bottom of
the right circle, his shot went across Joseph's chest and trickled
into the net just below his right arm.

Detroit's Jason Woolley tied it at 1 early in the second period,
and Luc Robitaille put the Red Wings ahead at 6:39.

The Mighty Ducks tied it at 2 in the third period, two seconds
after failing to score on their seventh power play of the series.
Chris Chelios' giveaway led to the game-winning goal when Rob
Niedermayer intercepted a clearing pass and made a short pass to
Thomas.

Woolley's goal was the first against Giguere in 121 minutes, 17
seconds -- the equivalent of more than two games. Giguere had
stopped 74 straight shots.

Giguere made 34 saves Saturday, one game after stopping 63 shots
-- an NHL record for a first postseason game, since shots on
individual goalies began being recorded during the 1976-77 season.
He made 20 saves in the first overtime, more than any goaltender
faced in an extra playoff period since the league expanded for the
1967-68 season.

Game notes
Chistov and Krog registered their first playoff points with
their goals. Thomas scored his 51st postseason goal. ... One of the
loudest cheers came when it was announced that the Detroit Tigers,
who started 0-9, beat Chicago 4-3.

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