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Published: Friday, 4/26/2002

Fedorov has Detroit hoppin'

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - Hockeytown was hoppin' once again last night.

So, too, were the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.

Sergei Fedorov had two goals and an assist in a four-goal first period and Dominik Hasek pitched his first shutout of the playoffs as Detroit turned the jeers to cheers at Joe Louis Arena by shutting out reeling Vancouver 4-0 in Game 5 before a raucous crowd of 20,058.

Detroit, which had dropped Games 1 and 2 on its home ice, now has rebounded to win three in a row against the eighth-seeded Canucks for a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Game 6 is tomorrow at GM Place in Vancouver. A seventh game, if necessary, would be Monday at the Joe.

“We're not kidding ourselves,” Fedorov said. “Vancouver has played us tough the whole series. We're expecting another tough game Saturday.”

Detroit, which managed just five goals in losing Games 1 and 2 to the Canucks, did all of its scoring in the first period last night.

Fedorov tallied the first and last goals while assisting on the third one. He scored a power-play goal from the slot after picking up a rebound at 4:02 and snapping it past Canucks goaltender Dan Cloutier.

Fedorov added an even-strength tally at 18:31 when he beat backup Peter Skudra, who had faced just one previous shot.

Just three minutes earlier, the Red Wings had chased Cloutier after Boyd Devereaux shuffled in a rebound at 15:32. Cloutier had stopped just six of nine shots.

“Sergei is one of the better skill players in the game,” said Detroit's Mathieu Dandenault, who added a short-handed goal. “He played his best game tonight. When he's skating like that, he's awesome. He uses his speed like few people can, and it opens up the ice for everybody else.”

“This was one of those nights where Sergei's motor was really running, and they just couldn't cover him,” Brett Hull said.

“His power-play goal was a good start for us,” coach Scotty Bowman said. “On the second one, Sergei got a tip-in, which was a very nice goal too.”

Detroit won Games 3 and 4 in Vancouver behind the play of captain Steve Yzerman and Hasek. Fedorov was the star last night, along with Hasek, who made 25 saves.

“I think it was an excellent first period for everybody,” Fedorov said. “For me, when it comes to the playoffs, it's easy to get up for these games. I know what's at stake, and it gives me a chance to make something good happen.”

Fedorov, who has three goals and three assists in the series, said he wasn't surprised by the Wings' quick start. Detroit had the best record in the NHL on its home ice during the regular season. But they had been winless in their last five (0-3-1-1) games prior to last night's win.

“I think we realized we hadn't won at home in a while,” Fedorov said. “We knew we had to play much better than we have played the last four weeks, including the regular season. The guys realized that, and I think they really got up for this game.”

Hull assisted on Detroit's third and fourth goals by feeding passes to Devereaux and Fedorov for a pair of even-strength tallies. It was Hull's first two points of the series.

“It's kind of been a struggle for me the first four games when it comes to getting some points, but I've been working hard,” Hull said. “Nick [Lidstrom] gave me a great pass on the first one, and Boyd was going hard to the net, and I gave it to him. I made a good pass to Sergei on the second one.”

Leading 1-0, the Red Wings were forced to kill off two Vancouver power plays and they were two seconds from killing off a third when Dandenault scored.

“Unfortunately, we had three penalties in a row, but it seems to me that we played exceptionally well, and that's important, and that's what we're going to stick with,” Fedorov said.

Hasek, who has played three strong games in a row, kicked aside 12 shots in the opening period, and many of those came with Detroit a man down.

“He made three or four saves that could have turned the whole game,” Bowman said.



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