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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Game Report

June 08, 1997|ARA NAJARIAN

FIRST PERIOD

* IN REVIEW: The Flyers may have played the best period of the series. The scoreless stretch of 19 minutes 26 seconds to open the game was the longest Philadelphia had gone without trailing in the series. Is this really the team that roughed up the rest of the Eastern Conference challengers? Far from being rough, which the Red Wing nimbleness neutralized, the Flyers didn't forecheck as often and concentrated on clogging the neutral zone. It was an improvement in defensive transition, but they still had trouble getting the puck out of the zone going the other way. Flyer center Eric Lindros only spent short spurts on the bench early in the period, and his presence was obvious; with two-thirds of the period gone, the Flyers had outshot the Red Wings, 6-2. However, neither team converted on its power plays and Philadelphia's Ron Hextall had some difficult saves before letting the lone goal slide through between his legs.

Saves: Flyers--Hextall 8, Red Wings--Mike Vernon 8.

* SCORING: Red Wings 1, Flyers 0--Kirk Maltby wandered around the top of the left circle before leaving the puck for Niklas Lidstrom, who one-timed it hard and low between Hextall's skates at 19:27. The shot was so hard it bounced back out beyond the crease.

* KEY PLAYS: Larry Murphy's play in front of the net and on the boards kept Vernon's view clear most of the time, whereas Hextall had no such luxury. Murphy has not been on the ice for an opponent's goal in the series and his plus-15 rating is the best in the playoffs. . . Philadelphia stopped three Detroit power-play opportunities.

SECOND PERIOD

* IN REVIEW: Again, the Flyer effort was good, but all they had to show for it was a two-goal deficit. Philadelphia closed the period having not scored in the last four periods. Detroit closed the period by stopping a Philadelphia rush.

Saves: Hextall 10, Vernon 12.

* SCORING: Darren McCarty's rush was perhaps the series' best. McCarty took the puck near the blue line, deked, jumped and skated around Janne Niinimaa, went to the left of a sprawling Hextall in front of the crease and put it in at 13:02. Tomas Sandstrom and Steve Yzerman were credited with assists, but it was all McCarty.

* KEY PLAYS: Vernon stopped three point-blank shots in the period. . . Philadelphia's Rod Brind'Amour was around the Red Wing net often, and even watched his puck glide across the crease eight minutes into the period, but Vernon was a wall. . . Philadelphia's power play in the 11th minute was so bad, that after a minute and half, the Flyers decided to just dump in the puck and chase. . . Sandstrom came close to scoring, shooting off Shjon Podein's back with 7:32 left, but that seemed to get the Red Wings attacking again.

THIRD PERIOD

* IN REVIEW: Twenty minutes of killing time. To the credit of both teams, neither relaxed too much--even when the victory was obvious--as evidenced by Lindros' goal with 14 seconds left. Philadelphia had several good rushes at the net throughout, but Vernon was up to the task. Vernon stopped 26 of 27 shots and was named MVP of the series.

Saves: Hextall 7, Vernon 6.

* SCORING: Red Wings 2, Flyers 1--Lindros fired into the upper-right corner at 19:46. The unassisted goal came while the Flyers had an extra attacker.

* KEY PLAYS: With nearly a minute and half left, Flyer Coach Terry Murray pulled Hextall to gain an extra attacker. The Red Wings sent three pucks toward the empty net, but all were wide.

THE RESULTS

Detroit wins best-of-seven series, 4-0

* Game 1: Detroit 4, Philadelphia 2

* Game 2: Detroit 4, Philadelphia 2

* Game 3: Detroit 6, Philadelphia 1

* Game 4: Detroit 2, Philadelphia 1

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