RED WINGS 2, FLYERS 1
* IN REVIEW: The opening minutes of this highly anticipated final did not disappoint, though the crowd was taken out of the game early after Detroit’s early lead and later in the period after the Red Wings went ahead on tough guy Joey Kocur’s unexpected goal. To counterattack the threat of Eric Lindros, the Red Wings used a variety of lines against him, the grinding line led by Kris Draper, and later, Steve Yzerman’s line. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was on the ice for Lindros’ first three shifts at even strength.
Saves: Philadelphia--Ron Hextall 6, Detroit--Mike Vernon 9.
* SCORING: Red Wings 1, Flyers 0: With Tomas Sandstrom off for high-sticking defenseman Kjell Samuelsson, the Red Wings scored a short-handed goal, at 6:38, as Kirk Maltby finished off a two-on-none passing play with Draper for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Red Wings 1, Flyers 1: Rod Brind’Amour scored his 11th of the playoffs, at 7:37, with 13 seconds remaining on the power play off a scramble in front after defenseman Janne Niinimaa’s shot from the lower left circle got through and Vernon made the first save.
Red Wings 2, Flyers 1: Kocur scored his first goal of the playoffs, at 15:56, beating Hextall with a backhander up high just under the crossbar after picking off Samuelsson’s blind pass through the middle in the Flyers’ zone.
* KEY PLAYS: The Flyers won the first nine faceoffs of the game before the Red Wings could win a single draw. . . . Sandstrom had time at the right post but needed to control the bouncing puck and then couldn’t lift it over Hextall, whose save on Sandstrom with 2:09 remaining prevented the Red Wings from taking a two-goal lead. . . . In a spirited opening period full of big hits, one of the better ones was levied by Shjon Podein on Detroit’s Martin Lapointe with six minutes left.
RED WINGS 3, FLYERS 2
* IN REVIEW: In the first significant strategic move of the series, the Flyers briefly broke up the vaunted Legion of Doom line in the second period. Brind’Amour replaced John LeClair on the line and later LeClair rejoined Lindros and Brind’Amour and Mikael Renberg moved off the line. Lindros even took a shift with fourth liners John Druce and Daniel Lacroix, as Flyer Coach Terry Murray attempted to generate some offense. All this juggling paid off as the Legion of Doom combined for a late, second-period goal to pull within one.
Saves: Hextall, 11, Vernon 8.
* SCORING: Red Wings 3, Flyers 1: Sergei Fedorov scored his sixth goal of the playoffs, at 11:41, on a two-on-one break, beating Hextall up high over the shoulder with a wrist shot from the right circle. After going pointless in the Red Wings’ first four playoff games, Fedorov has 15 points since then.
Red Wings 3, Flyers 2: Just after the Flyers’ power play expired, the Flyers broke out on a three-on-two attack and LeClair scored his eighth goal of the playoffs, beating Vernon between the pads at 17:11.
* KEY PLAYS: Philadelphia defenseman Petr Svoboda missed a good part of the period with an injured right foot when he got hit with the puck. His absence left the Flyer with just five defensemen, but he later returned for the start of the third. . . . Red Wing defenseman Bob Rouse broke up a Flyer two-on-one break, by blocking the crossing pass with 6:47 left. . . . Vernon’s biggest save of the period was on Druce, who came in on a partial breakaway with 5:43 left. But Druce was knocked off balance by a persistent Slava Fetisov.
RED WINGS 4, FLYERS 2
* IN REVIEW: Trust Detroit Coach Scotty Bowman to come up a new twist. While almost everyone expected him to deploy defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov against Lindros at every turn, Bowman instead went with the defensive pairing of Lidstrom-Larry Murphy for about two-thirds of the game. Nevertheless, Lindros did emerge with two assists in Game 1.
Saves: Hextall 9, Vernon, 9.
* SCORING: Red Wings 4, Flyers 2: Just 56 seconds into the period, Yzerman scored his fifth of the playoffs with a slap shot from about 60 feet out, beating Hextall between the pads. Hextall was partially screened by his own defenseman, Niinimaa.
* KEY PLAYS: Save of the game? Hand it to Vernon who made a fabulous glove save on Trent Klatt with 5:38 remaining, who fired a shot from the right circle on a two-on-one-break with Lindros. . . . As for the biggest hit of the game, who else but Konstantinov, who leveled Klatt with 5:15 left.