The Red Wings first opponent was the Vancouver Canucks, who came into the playoffs as the #8 seed with 94 points, 22 back of Detroit. The Canucks would win the first two games in Detroit 4-3 and 5-2 to get the attention of the hockey world, but the Red Wings turned the tables back in Vancouver with a 3-1 win followed by a 4-2 triumph to even the series at 2 games apiece. Back at home Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hašek shut out the Canucks with a 25 save performance to put the Canucks on the brink and eliminated Vancouver back on their home ice with a 6-4 win, their fourth straight after losing the first two.
Hašek greeted the Blues with a 2-0 blanking in Game 1 on 23 saves as St. Louis actually outshot Detroit by a 23-20 margin. Game 2 went the way of the Red Wings 3-2 before the series moved to St. Louis.
The Blues won 6-1 on home ice but Detroit took Game 4 by a 4-3 margin and closed out the St. Louis back in Detroit with their second shutout of the series, this one 4-0 as the Red Wings limited the Blues to just 16 shots on Hašek.
Their rivals, the Avalanche were once again the roadblock between the Red Wings and the Stanley Cup Finals as they met for the Western Conference title. While Detroit took the first game 5-3 at the Joe Louis Arena, Colorado fought back with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 2. Detroit responded with a 2-1 overtime win in Denver but the Avalanche evened the series at 2-2 with a 3-2 win in Game 4.
In Game 5, once again the Avalanche would take an overtime win in Detroit, this time 2-1 to put the Red Wings season on the line. Hašek rose to the occasion back in Denver with a 2-0 shutout in Game 6, out dueling Patrick Roy with a 24 save shutout.
The decisive Game 7 was back in Detroit and was a shocker. The first Red Wings goal came just 1:57 into the game and by the 13 minute mark it was 4-0 for Detroit and just seven minutes into the second period Roy had been chased to the bench as the Red Wings were now up 6-0. After the Red Wings made it 7-0 at the 16:09 mark, the only question that remained was would Hašek get his record setting 5th shutout in one playoff year. He would indeed, as the Detroit defense only allowed the Avalanche 19 shots for the game and Hašek completed his second consecutive blanking of Colorado to claim the record in style.
The Red Wings now moved on to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. Of note, the matchup between Hašek of Czechoslovakia and Carolina's Arturs Irbe from Latvia was the first matchup of two European goaltenders in NHL history.
Game 1 went to the Hurricanes 3-2 in Detroit, but the Red Wings responded with a 3-1 win in Game 2 and then took Game 3 in Raleigh 3-2. Game 4 saw Detroit limit Carolina to 6, 7 and then 4 shots on goal and Hašek turned them all away for a 17 save blanking on this date in 2002, pushing his record now out to 6 shutouts in the same playoff season.
Now up three games to one, Hašek and the Red Wings would clinch the Stanley Cup back on home ice in Detroit with a 3-1 win in Game 5 and make Hašek the first European starting goaltender to lead his team to a Stanley Cup championship.
Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings Dominik Hašek jersey as worn in Carolina when he extended his playoff shutout record from five to six. While it was Hašek's first season with the Red Wings, their iconic jerseys had been around since the franchise changed their name from the Falcons to the Red Wings in 1932, remaining essentially unchanged since, with only such details as changes to the number font a couple of times and the addition of names in the 1970's worth noting.
This jersey features the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals patch, a tradition which began back in 1989 which sees the two finalists wearing a commemorative patch to mark their achievement.
And you thought the Red Wings and Avalanche rivalry was over with by 2002…
Here are the Top 10 Dominik Hašek NHL moments. Among hundreds.