To the limit


Brendan Shanahan scored his first goal of the series and Dominik Hasek stopped 24 shots Wednesday as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.

“You tell yourself good things when you’re getting close and hitting posts, but it’s still very frustrating,” Shanahan said. “I personally wanted to have a big night, but I don’t think it was a night of personal gains.”

Detroit broke a four-game losing streak in elimination games dating to a victory over St. Louis in the 1996 conference semifinals.

Colorado will have to play a Game 7 for the fourth straight series — extending its own league record — and for the fifth time in its last six series.

Game 7 is Friday in Detroit.

“We are not happy going back to Detroit,” Colorado goalie Patrick Roy said. “It is a big challenge, but it’s been like this for us all year. We have a hard time making it easy on ourselves.”

The Red Wings rallied from eight one-goal deficits in the first five games, but didn’t need any comebacks this time.

Shanahan, criticized for his lack of production in the series, opened the scoring with 38 seconds left in the first period on a hot that Roy thought he stopped.

Roy raised his glove, thinking he caught Shanahan’s shot from the slot, but the puck hit the ice and trickled into the net. Roy briefly tried to argue the call, then bent over and covered his mask with both gloves in frustration.

“I didn’t know if I had it in my glove,” said Roy, who stopped 26 shots. “I held my glove up looking for the puck and it rolled back.”

It was Shanahan’s fifth goal of the playoffs, but his first since Game 4 against St. Louis in the second round. He hit a post with two minutes left in regulation in Game 5, which Colorado won 2-1 in overtime.

“Sometimes when you get the lead you sit back, and I was glad we didn’t,” Detroit coach Scott Bowman said.

Darren McCarty made it 2-0 with 603 remaining in the second after a Colorado turnover in Detroit’s zone.

It was McCarty’s first goal since scoring three straight in the third period of Game 1.

“I thought 1-0, we were all right, but 2-0 was a different game for them,” Colorado’s Chris Drury said. “They could sit back a little more.”

Hasek, who allowed goals at critical moments in the previous two games, was spectacular at times in earning his fourth shutout of the playoffs this year and 10th of his career.

Colorado raised the ire of the Red Wings in the second period by asking the officials to check the width of Hasek’s stick.

Hasek reluctantly agreed to hand over his stick, then made repeated motions to get it back after the officials ruled it to be within the 4 1/2-inch limit.

The move resulted in a bench penalty against Colorado and wiped out 103 of a power play.

“We had information that Hasek was playing with an illegal stick and down 2-0 with 100 on the power play, we thought the timing was right,” Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. “Sometimes in games you try some things that work. Unfortunately for us, that one didn’t.”