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Red Wings Back In Raleigh For Rematch With Hurricanes

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The NHL champion Detroit Red Wings are back in one of their favorite cities looking for another victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

In a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Finals, the Hurricanes play host to the Red Wings at 7 p.m. Friday in the RBC Center. The game will be Detroit's first game in Raleigh since it took two straight wins from Carolina en route to a five-game triumph for the league championship.

Detroit lost the first game of the best-of-seven series at home before winning the next four games to claim its third Stanley Cup in six years. The Red Wings won Game 3 and Game 4 in Raleigh.

For the Red Wings, perhaps no other city they visit holds memories as pleasant as Raleigh.

Many people who will cram into the RBC Center for Friday night's game no doubt will remember back to Detroit's 3-2 triple-overtime victory in Game 4 of the Fnals. Igor Larionov scored the game-winner 14:47 into the third extra period - becoming the oldest player to score in the Finals in one of the longest games in NHL history.

"I'll never forget that game," coach Dave Lewis, in his first game as successor to Scotty Bowman, told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. "It was unique in so many ways. It was one of the longest games in the history of Stanley Cup playoffs, and it was our oldest player who scored the goal."

Just as Lewis and his team remember the good times in Raleigh, the Hurricanes and their fans would rather forget the losses to Detroit in the first Stanley Cup games played in the Triangle.

Lewis said he can relate to how the Hurricanes must have felt after the series ended, noting that the Red Wings felt the same way after they lost to New Jersey in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals.

"It's a very strong emotion to get that far and not be successful," Lewis said. "It's tremendously disappointing.

"You have accomplished so much, and all you really take away from it is the defeat, where you should be very happy with the accomplishment of achieving that position. But it isn't so."

The Hurricanes will be fired up to win on Friday and finally give their fans something good to cheer about against one of the most famous teams in hockey.

There will be a lot of different faces on the ice for Detroit, in addition to the team having a new coach. But a victory over the defending champs will be no less satisfying for the Canes than if they had beaten the Red Wings in the finals.

"You have to be realistic with the situation," Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward, a former Red Wing, told the News & Observer of Raleigh. "It's a team that is coming off its third Stanley Cup in six years."

Said Lewis: "Each year is different. What we did last year has no bearing on the game Friday. There are different players, and a different coach."

Don't tell that to the Hurricanes.

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