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Red Wings to Rely on Their Depth

KINGS REPORT

April 14, 2001|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

DETROIT — Red Wing Coach Scotty Bowman wouldn't say who will replace injured forwards Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman in the lineup for Game 2 today against the Kings.

That's not his style.

Bowman did say he expects the Red Wings' depth to save the day, helping them to take a 2-0 lead in games before the series moves Sunday night to Staples Center for Game 3.

To bolster their dwindling ranks, the Red Wings recalled Jason Williams, 20, from Cincinnati of the American Hockey League. He was Cincinnati's leading scorer during the regular season with 69 points in 76 games.

He and Boyd Devereaux are candidates to replace Yzerman, who played only 5 minutes 58 seconds Wednesday in Game 1 before leaving because of a sprained left ankle.

Feisty veteran Pat Verbeek, known as "the Little Ball of Hate," could take the place of Shanahan, who broke a bone in his left foot after blocking King defenseman Aaron Miller's third-period shot.

"You can't hide from injuries," Detroit winger Martin Lapointe said Friday. "Injuries are part of the game. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a big challenge for all of us. It's going to bring the best out of the other players. A lot of them have played only 8-10-12 minutes and their ice time is going to increase. They'll feel more important to the team."

In addition, the Red Wings might again be without veteran defenseman Chris Chelios, who has been sidelined since March 18 because of a broken left thumb. He has been practicing with his teammates this week, but did not play in Game 1.

"I don't want to talk about it anymore," said Chelios, who has a small cast on his thumb and hand. "Hopefully, it will feel better and we can make a decision [this morning] about playing. I want to play and help the team. If I feel ready, physically, I'm going to go in and try to help the team.

"It's unfortunate what's happened to Brendan and Stevie, but other guys have to step in and take advantage of the opportunity."

*

Down by a game in their best-of-seven series against the Red Wings isn't the best place for the Kings to be heading into Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena.

But the seventh-seeded Kings have history on their side as they attempt to upset the second-seeded Red Wings. Since 1994, No. 7-seeded teams are 8-6 against No. 2-seeded teams in first-round action. It's the best record of any of the four lower-seeded teams against the four higher-seeded teams.

Last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins upset the Washington Capitals in five games in the opening round. Except for 1996, there has been at least one upset by a seventh-seeded team over a second-seeded team since 1994.

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