On the brink of a stunning playoff flop, the Detroit Red Wings got the big break they needed.
Dan Cloutier whiffed on Nicklas Lidstrom's slap shot from center ice as Detroit got back into its first-round playoff series with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
"We had a little bit of luck, but I thought we deserved the win," Lidstrom said.
With a roster full of future Hall of Famers and a coach who's won eight Stanley Cups, the top-seeded Red Wings rolled through the regular season and finished with a league-best 116 points.
But they lost their first two playoff games at home, leaving them in danger of becoming a memorable postseason failure. Desperate for a victory, the Red Wings got some help from Vancouver's young goalie.
Lidstrom's 90-foot slap shot fluttered under Cloutier's glove with 24.6 seconds left in the second period, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead in Game 3 and new life in the best-of-seven series.
In other playoff games Sunday, New Jersey shut out Carolina 4-0, Boston held off Montreal 6-4, and St. Louis downed Chicago 4-0.
Devils 4, Hurricanes 0
Brian Rafalski scored two power-play goals, and New Jersey got back into the series with an easy victory at home in Game 3.
Bruins 6, Canadiens 4
Brian Rolston scored twice in the first 12 minutes, but Boston nearly wasted a 4-0 lead before holding off Montreal at the FleetCenter and tying the series at one game apiece.
Blues 4, Blackhawks 0
Jamal Mayers scored early, Keith Tkachuk assisted on two power-play goals, and St. Louis smothered Chicago for a second straight game to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Brent Johnson earned his second consecutive shutout, stopping 12 shots.
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