Anaheim 3, Detroit 2

April 12, 2003 at 8:19 PM
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DETROIT, April 12 (UPI) -- Steve Thomas scored his 51st career playoff goal with 4:14 remaining Saturday as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim grabbed a stunning two games to none lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Off a turnover just outside the Detroit blue line, Thomas got a pass from Rob Niedermayer - who along with Thomas was obtained at the trade deadline. He shrugged off a hook and fired a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle along the ice and under the glove of goaltender Curtis Joseph.

"To me, it felt like it didn't go where it was supposed to go," Joseph said. "It hit me short side and found a way to get across my body and under my arm."

"It's a big goal," Thomas said. "Having any form of success, I don't think it's any one guy. I think it's 20 guys in the locker room who pull on the skates the same way."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who stopped 63 shots in Thursday's triple-overtime winner, had no trouble making the lead stand.

"You come into a tough building to play against the best team in the league and a lot of great players, you don't expect that," said Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney. "We did have confidence coming in, we played well all season, especially the second half, but never in a million years did we expect to come here and get the two victories."

Anaheim has won two road games in the same series for the first time in team history, and will take a commanding lead home for Game Three on Monday.

Defenseman Jason Woolley and Luc Robitaille scored for Detroit, which also opened last year's first round with two home losses before reeling off four straight wins over Vancouver to begin its march to another Stanley Cup.

"Just because we did it last year doesn't mean that we're going to throw our sticks on the ice in Anaheim and it will happen," said Detroit left wing Brendan Shanahan, "but at the same time, we've dealt with it before."

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