If the Detroit Red Wings beat Pittsburgh in Game 7 tomorrow night at Joe Louis Arena, a quartet of players will become the first to win five Stanley Cup rings with the team.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby helped Detroit beat the Penguins in the Finals last year and also hoisted the Cup in 2002, 1998, and 1997.

Draper could not bring himself to share his thoughts on what it would mean to carve out his own spot in Red Wings lore.

"To really talk about something that hasn't happened yet is not easy," Draper said yesterday, a day after Pittsburgh's 2-1 win forced a Game 7 in Detroit. "For now, there's a lot of work to be done."

TV ratings fall

NBC said that Game 6 earned a 4.1 overnight rating and a 7 share. That's down from the 4.4 for last year's Game 6, when the Red Wings clinched the title. Tuesday's game was played at the same time as Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

One ratings point equals roughly 1.1 million households. The rating is the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program, while the share is the percentage of all TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the nation's largest markets.

Report: Stars ax coach

Dallas has fired coach Dave Tippett, the Canadian sports channel TSN reported. The network quoted sources as saying the Stars had asked for permission to talk to former Los Angeles Kings coach Marc Crawford.

The Stars fired general manager Brett Hull and named former player Joe Nieuwendyk as GM 10 days ago. Nieuwendyk was on the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup champions.

- Associated Press