DETROIT -- Scotty Bowman kept his secret as long as he could, and the best team money can buy made sure his last game as coach won him a Stanley Cup championship.
"I made up my mind in February that this was going to be my last year," said Bowman, who announced his retirement after the Detroit Red Wings finished off the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1, to clinch the best-of-seven series Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd of 20,058 at Joe Louis Arena. "In other years, I was never sure, but after the Olympic break, I knew it was time."
Brendan Shanahan scored two goals, Steve Yzerman had two assists and Dominik Hasek made 16 saves for the Red Wings, who defeated the Hurricanes in five games and gave Bowman his ninth Stanley Cup championship as a coach, which moved him ahead of his mentor Toe Blake for the most in NHL history.
"I have had a career that I never thought I'd ever have, and it means a lot for me to leave on a winning note," said Bowman, 68, the only coach to register more than 1,000 victories in the regular season and playoffs combined.
For the Red Wings, Thursday's victory completes a dream season, especially for veterans such as Hasek, Luc Robitaille and Steve Duchesne, who played on a Stanley Cup championship team for the first time.
Detroit and its $65 million payroll dominated the league from start to finish. The Red Wings won the President's Trophy for having the best record during the regular season and went 16-7 in the playoffs.
After losing Game 1 at home to Carolina in the finals, Detroit won four in a row to win its third Stanley Cup title in six years and 10th in franchise history.
"We should be up there with some of the greatest teams," said Red Wing defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the playoffs.
After a scoreless first period, the Red Wings broke the game open in the second.
Winger Tomas Holmstrom knocked in his first goal of the series on a gritty score from in front of the net. Holmstrom, who has a history of scoring big goals in the playoffs, was in the right spot to score off an assist from Igor Larionov at 4:07.
With nearly 11 minutes remaining in the period, fans at Joe Louis Arena began to chant "Hasek, Hasek, Hasek" after the Detroit goaltender stopped several point-blank chances.
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