Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Red Wings fly ahead of Predators

AP , DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Keith Primeau, left, of the Philadelphia Flyers, looks to control the puck as goalie Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils guards the net during Game 2 of round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Mathieu Schneider's slap shot went off the boards, off goalie Tomas Vokoun's skate and trickled into the net late in the third period Saturday to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

The Red Wings are ahead 2-0 in the first-round series because they have outscored the Predators 4-0 in the third period. The teams will make a quick turnaround and play Game 3 of the best-of-seven series Sunday in Nashville.

"It doesn't matter how you win," Detroit's Darren McCarty said. "It doesn't have to be pretty."

The winning goal in Game 2 came on the power play after the Red Wings were 0-for-9 in the series with an extra man. Schneider's shot from above the right circle went behind Vokoun, then caromed toward the net where the sprawled-out goaltender had the misfortune of having the puck go off his skate.

Vokoun laid flat on his back as the crowd cheered.

"I thought it was underneath him, I turned my head and thought the play was over," Schneider said. "I can't believe it went in.

Manny Legace made 27 saves, and Robert Lang scored for Detroit, which had the NHL's best record during the regular season.

Vladimir Orszagh scored for Nashville.

Sharks 3, Blues 1

In San Jose, California, Patrick Marleau scored three goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves, leading the San Jose Sharks over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round series.

Though Nabokov was nearly impeccable again, San Jose took a 2-0 lead in the series thanks to a career-defining performance by Marleau, the All-Star who scored just one goal in the final 17 games of the regular season.

Nabokov was on the verge of his second straight shutout until he allowed a terrible short-handed goal to Doug Weight with 2:09 to play, ending a streak of 127 scoreless minutes.

Islanders 3, Lightning 0

In Tampa, Florida, Rick DiPietro got his first postseason victory, stopping all 22 shots to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning and even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series at one game apiece.

Jason Blake returned from an ankle injury expected to sideline him for the entire series and scored his first two career playoff goals, including an empty-netter with just under a minute to go.

Janne Niinimaa also scored his first playoff goal and added an assist on Blake's second to help New York gain home-ice advantage. Game 3 is Monday night at Nassau Coliseum, where the Islanders had one of the NHL's best home records this season.

Maple Leafs 2, Senators 0

In Toronto, Gary Roberts scored twice and Ed Belfour stopped all 31 shots as Toronto beat Ottawa and evened the first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Fans chanted "Eddie! Eddie!" throughout as Belfour recorded his 12th career shutout in the playoffs, and his 83rd win, tying him with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for first place among active goalies.

Mats Sundin assisted on both goals for the Maple Leafs, who had 26 shots for the game.

Flyers 3, Devils 2

In Philadelphia, Alexei Zhamnov scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Philadelphia beat defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey to take a 2-0 series lead.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is today in New Jersey.

Jan Hrdina and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils, who didn't lead in either game in Philadelphia. Mark Recchi and Mattias Timander had Philadelphia's other goals.

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