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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Shanahan's Passing Thought Gets by Hebert

May 03, 1997|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DETROIT — Brendan Shanahan, an all-star sharpshooter, passing up a terrific scoring chance on a two-on-one break in overtime to set up Martin Lapointe, an anonymous grinder?

So this is what the Mighty Ducks can expect from the Detroit Red Wings in their Western Conference semifinal playoff series, eh?

Shanahan threw the Ducks a changeup, plain and simple, and because he did the Red Wings squeezed out a 2-1 victory Friday in Game 1.

Lapointe converted Shanahan's cross-ice pass with only left wing Paul Kariya back on defense for the Ducks, slamming the puck past surprised goalie Guy Hebert for the game-winning goal 59 seconds into overtime.

Everyone on the ice, 19,983 fans at Joe Louis Arena and TV viewers across North America figured Shanahan would fire a shot at Hebert.

But he did not, surprising even Lapointe.

"Hey, he's a 50-goal scorer, I'm 16," Lapointe said. "[Shanahan] is a team player. You have to be ready to go to the net and get the rebound on that play.

"Or take the shot."

Lapointe shrugged.

"I've never scored an overtime goal before, but I don't want to get too overwhelmed with that goal." he said after only his second postseason goal.

It was the sort of unexpected play the Red Wings needed to subdue the Ducks in Game 1 and the kind of hustle they will need to win again in Game 2.

Lapointe, a scrappy right wing in his third full season in the NHL, and defenseman Larry Murphy managed to take the puck away from Duck defenseman Dmitri Mironov in the neutral zone.

After several whacks, the puck came free from Mironov and Lapointe punched it ahead to Shanahan on the left wing. Not content with his yeoman work against Mironov, Lapointe zoomed toward the Duck net on right wing.

Mironov and defense partner Bobby Dollas were left far behind.

Shanahan never hesitated and neatly slipped the puck to Lapointe in mid-stride. Lapointe fired quickly and the Red Wings had a victory.

"It was good to see Marty get the goal," Detroit Coach Scotty Bowman said. "He's a spirited player. He made the play at the blue line. He made the play to go to the net."

Bowman kept shuffling Lapointe from line to line in Game 1, trying to find a weakness in the Duck defense.

First, Lapointe played on "The Grind Line" with fellow muckers Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur. Next, Bowman moved Lapointe to a line centered by Sergei Fedorov. In overtime, Lapointe found himself on the ice with Shanahan and Steve Yzerman.

"With Scotty, you've got to be ready to play with anyone," Lapointe said.

Hebert played with Shanahan with the St. Louis Blues before the Ducks selected him in the 1993 expansion draft. He thought he knew what was coming as the play developed.

"He's just a pure goal-scorer," Hebert said. "He doesn't pass up too many shots. In overtime, you want to direct everything you can at the net. In a situation like that our guy could break up the pass and it would be a wasted two-on-one.

"You want to be in position to challenge the shot. You don't want to give him any room to shoot, especially a guy like Brendan."

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