Steve Yzerman had two goals and three assists, tying a Detroit record with five points in a playoff game, as the Red Wings crushed the St. Louis Blues 8-3 Sunday and took a 2-0 lead in their second-round series.
Yzerman had a goal and two assists as the Red Wings scored five goals in the first period.Nicklas Lidstrom had two goals for the Red Wings, seeking their first Stanley Cup title since 1955. Vladimir Konstantinov, Darren McCarty, Martin Lapointe and Marc Bergevin also scored for Detroit.
Shayne Corson, Peter Zezel and Adam Creighton scored for the Blues, who saw the constant complaining of coach Mike Keenan come back to haunt them.
Keenan, a master of mind games, had complained about everything from the length of the visitor's bench at Joe Louis Arena to Sergei Fedorov's alleged flops. Keenan gave the impression the Blues felt robbed after a 3-2 loss in Game 1.
Detroit, after a four-day layoff, was sluggish in that first game. But the Red Wings, who won an NHL-record 62 games this season, were back on their form in Game 2. Four of their first nine shots went into the net.
That looked like the end for Blues goaltender Jon Casey, forced into action for the postseason because of Grant Fuhr's reconstructive knee surgery. Casey, who spent most of the season at Peoria of the International Hockey League, was pulled for backup Bruce Racine after McCarty's goal made it 4-0 at 11:41 of the first.
But it was just another ploy. Keenan sent Casey back out 33 seconds later.
Detroit got goals 1:05 apart from Yzerman and Konstantinov for a 2-0 lead at 4:45 of the first. It was the third for Yzerman, who also had two assists in the period, and the second for Konstantinov. Lidstrom scored his first at 7:02, and McCarty's second triggered the brief goalie switch.
Corson made it 4-1 with his ninth, beating Chris Osgood on a power play, at 13:37. But Lapointe, in his first playoff game of the season, scored at 15:40 for a 5-1 Detroit lead. St. Louis captain Wayne Gretzky was on the ice for four of the Red Wings' five first-period goals.
Zezel's third goal narrowed the gap to 5-2 at 2:48 of the second. Lidstrom's power-play goal gave Detroit another four-goal lead at 6:19 of the third. Creighton got his first at 8:03 of the third, but Yzerman answered with a power-play goal with 2:04 remaining. Bergevin notched his first, also on a power play, with 25 seconds left.
Detroit outshot the Blues 31-21. The best-of-7 series moves to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday.
The Red Wings' 41-year drought without the Cup is the longest active streak in the NHL. Last year, Detroit was swept in the finals by the New Jersey Devils.
Rangers 6, Penguins 3
At Pittsburgh, the toughened-up New York Rangers stopped talking a big game and instead played one, containing Pittsburgh's stars with forechecking and followup goals for a victory to even their second-round series.
Luc Robitaille, labeled as overpaid and unproductive by ex-Ranger Sergei Zubov, scored the first goal and assisted on two others as New York came away from Pittsburgh with a 1-1 tie in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 3 will be Tuesday in Madison Square Garden, where the teams split two regular-season games.
Mark Messier, who stressed the necessity of playing with a sense of urgency, also had a goal and an assist as New York swept away its sixth consecutive Game 1 playoff loss by shutting out Pittsburgh on four first-period power plays.
Even after the Rangers took the sellout crowd of 17,181 out of the game by surging into leads of 3-0 and 5-1, they relied on relentless checking to take away Pittsburgh's end-to-end rushes and the playmaking of Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux.
Jagr scored two goals and assisted on Lemieux's game-winning goal as Pittsburgh rallied to win the series opener 4-3. The NHL's two leading scorers scored a goal apiece Sunday, but Jagr's came with Pittsburgh down 5-2 late in the third period.
This time, New York's stars stepped up - Messier, who set the tone by constantly chasing down loose pucks, and Robitaille, the $2 million forward who had been shut out in the playoffs until he scored at 5:10 of the first.
Zubov, who responded to Rangers coach Colin Campbell's allegation that Pittsburgh had "soft players" and "cry babies," now may regret saying a player who makes as much as Robitaille should score more goals.
Robitaille, apparently heeding Campbell's mandate to followup on shots - something the Rangers didn't do in Game 1 - when he followed up his missed backhander by wristing a shot by goaltender Ken Wregget.
Wregget lost for the first time in five games since replacing the injured Tom Barrasso during Pittsburgh's four-overtime victory over Washington in the first round. The Penguins hadn't lost since winning the longest game their history.
But the tone was set Sunday for the Penguins after Robitaille's goal when they managed only one shot during a four-minute power play that included a two-man advantage for a minute.
The Rangers, the least-penalized team in the playoffs until the first period, fought off that crises to take a 2-0 lead on Bill Berg's gift goal at 17:26 during a stretch in which they took 12 of the game's first 17 shots.
Berg swept in to score on a 30-foot slap shot from the slot after the puck caromed off a distracted J.J. Daigneault's skate as both teams skated up the ice.
Alexei Kovalev made it 3-0 just 1:25 into the second period with his third goal of the playoffs, angling a shot off Wregget's chest and into a narrow opening between the goaltender's stick and the net.
Lemieux scored the first of Pittsburgh's two power-play goals, at 6:21 of the second, but Messier prevented the Penguins from generating any momentum by deflecting in Jeff Beukeboom's shot from the right point only 12 seconds later.
Brian Smolinski scored at 6:27 and Jagr added his sixth of the playoffs at 14:19, but Jari Kurri scored an empty-net goal at 19:20.
Rangers goaltender Mike Richter stopped 25 of 28 shots.