Washington at Detroit (8 p.m. EDT). The Red Wings play host to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

SWEEPS

The Stanley Cup finals have ended in a sweep in each of the last three years. In 1995, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings for the first championship in team history, and the Colorado Avalanche knocked off the Florida Panthers a year later to accomplish the same feat. The Red Wings defeated the Philadelphia Flyers last season to capture Detroit's first hockey title in 42 years.

SIGNING

The expansion Nashville Predators signed free agent center Rob Valicevic on Monday, the team's third player. Valicevic, who had 29 goals and 28 assists last season for the Houston Aeros of the IHL, joins Jayson More and Marian Cisar on the Predators' roster.

SCOTTY

Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman has led seven teams to the Stanley Cup and is one championship away from tying Toe Blake's NHL record. Bowman captured five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, the 1992 Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and last year helped the Red Wings break their 42-year dry spell without a title.

STRIPES

Seven officials with a combined 10,753 NHL regular season and playoff games experience will work the Stanley Cup finals. Named to the officiating crew are referees Terry Gregson, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary, and linesmen Gord Broseker, Kevin Collins, Ray Scapinello and Dan Schachte.

SPEAKING

``We're not going to apologize because we got here and Jersey didn't and this now isn't supposed to be this great series. Until you play the games, you never know.'' _ Washington Capitals defenseman Mark Tinordi on his team reaching the Stanley Cup finals as the fourth seed.