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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Snow Will Try to Stop Red Wing Blizzard

NHL playoffs: Flyers bench goaltender Hextall, shuffle lines for Game 2 against Detroit.

June 03, 1997|HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PHILADELPHIA — Not only will the Philadelphia Flyers change their starting goaltender for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, Coach Terry Murray also wants to change gears, relying more on speed and skill tonight in an attempt to avoid being swept at home by the Detroit Red Wings.

Whether spurred by panic or clairvoyance, Murray's switch from Ron Hextall to Garth Snow and from a rugged fourth line to an offensive trio of Dale Hawerchuk, rookie Colin Forbes and Pat Falloon are bold moves at this late juncture. But if he made no changes and the Flyers played as carelessly and passively as they did in their 4-2 loss in Game 1, it might be too late to recover.

Since the finals went to a best-of-seven format in 1939, only three teams have erased 0-2 deficits and won: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1966 Montreal Canadiens and the 1971 Canadiens.

The key change is from Hextall to Snow, who started nine of the Flyers' first 10 playoff games but hasn't played since May 18, when he gave up five goals to the New York Rangers on 10 shots in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

After two sleepless nights remembering the 60-foot goal Steve Yzerman scored to kill the Flyer comeback hopes Saturday, Murray said Monday he felt compelled to make the switch.

"I thought the opportunity for us to get back into the game was taken away," Murray said of Yzerman's goal. "I feel very comfortable going with Garth Snow."

Snow acknowledged he was surprised, "because I thought Hexy made some big saves for us and I thought he played well."

Flyer goaltending coach Rejean Lemelin thought so, too, but the decision was Murray's.

The last time a team started different goalies in the finals was 1988, when the Boston Bruins used Andy Moog in the first game against the Edmonton Oilers, Lemelin in Games 2 and 3, Moog in Game 4--which was suspended because of a power failure--and the replayed fourth game. The Bruins lost that series.

The last time a team started different goalies and won the Cup was in 1984, when Moog was with the Oilers and replaced Grant Fuhr after the first three games against the New York Islanders.

"We're playing against a better hockey team now than we've played before and we need to make some adjustments," said Hextall, who is 4-1 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .904 save percentage. "Are we hitting the panic button? Absolutely not."

Snow, 8-3 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .895 save percentage, seems confident.

"I'm just going to try to make the stops we need and let the puck hit me," he said.

*

Murray changed his second line, moving John Druce up to play with Rod Brind'Amour and Dainius Zubrus, and dropping Hawerchuk to the fourth line with Forbes--who played three regular-season games and no playoff games--and Falloon. Winger Dan Kordic is questionable for the rest of the series because of a broken left thumb.

Defenseman Petr Svoboda is also questionable because of a broken right foot.

Notes

New York Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard, the favorite for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year, was selected to the league's all-rookie team. Fellow Calder Cup finalists Jarome Iginla of Calgary and Jim Campbell of St. Louis also were selected, along with Pittsburgh goalie Patrick Lalime, Philadelphia defenseman Janne Niinimaa and Toronto forward Sergei Berezin.

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