BOSTON Martin Brodeur's latest shutout has the New Jersey Devils a win away from the second round and the Boston Bruins wondering how to get the puck past him.
Brodeur posted his 14th shutout in 70 career playoff wins Sunday when the Devils beat the Bruins 3-0 for a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven, first-round series.
They have, basically, an unbelievable wall back there and that weighs on you,'' Boston's Mike Knuble said.
It should bother New Jersey's potential playoff opponents, especially with the confidence and sense of near-invincibility that Brodeur brings to the playoffs.
I still have a long way to go and many more shutouts to get,'' he said.
New Jersey can sweep Tuesday night in Boston and send the Bruins to another first-round exit. Seeded first in the Eastern Conference last year, they lost in six games to Montreal.
Now they face a daunting task. In the 13 series in which they trailed 3-0, the Bruins never made it to a sixth game. They lost seven of those series 4-0 and six 4-1.
Anything's doable,'' said Boston's Brian Rolston, who managed just one shot Sunday and has no points in the series.
The Devils got goals from Scott Stevens in the second period, Jay Pandolfo in the third and John Madden into an empty net with 1:06 left.
The Bruins got none of their 29 shots past Brodeur, who led the league with 41 wins and nine shutouts and was fourth with a 2.02 goals against average.
He's a big-time goalie and thrives on games like this,'' Madden said. He plays just well enough to be better than everybody, but when big games come he takes it to another level.''
Last season, the Devils lost in the first round in six games to Carolina, which reached the Stanley Cup finals. It was a big disappointment to a team that won the championship in 2000 and lost in the finals in 2001.
Last year, we weren't 100 percent (healthy) going in,'' Stevens said. We just look at this as another year.''
This season, New Jersey tied Philadelphia for the fewest goals allowed. And the Devils don't rely on a single line as much as the Bruins do.
Every time we get in their end it seems like they dump it out and we have to come back, regroup and then get back in,'' said Joe Thornton, Boston's first-line center., They're a patient team.''
Boston goalie Jeff Hackett, who missed the previous 12 games since breaking his right index finger March 15, played well and saved 19 of 21 shots. He started in place of Steve Shields, who played in the 2-1 and 4-2 losses in the first two games.
I felt good,'' Hackett said, but sometimes one goal is too much against New Jersey.''
All the offense Brodeur needed was Stevens' 24th career playoff goal and first this year at 1:11 of the second period.
Stevens shot from the left point into a crowd. Boston defenseman Ian Moran inadvertently pushed Hackett toward the left side, and the puck sailed by the goalie's right side.
I didn't see the puck,'' Hackett said.
Pandolfo made it 2-0 at 12:00 of the third when he flipped the puck over a diving Hackett. Madden assisted on both goals
At 7:04 of the second period, defenseman Dan McGillis blocked a puck at his own blue line and broke in alone. He shot from 10 feet, but Brodeur blocked the puck with his left shoulder and caught it in his left hand before tumbling backward in his crease.
Brodeur frustrated the Bruins again early in the third period. He stopped P.J. Axelsson's shot from the right circle with his right pad and the rebound went to his left.
I thought Axelsson had me on the first shot but I reacted quickly and got lucky,'' Brodeur said.
Axelsson took another shot, but Brodeur slid across the crease to catch it with his left glove at 1:50.
That was probably the save of the game,'' Devils coach Pat Burns said.
The Bruins started aggressively in a well-played first period. But they were called for the first four penalties of the game, including two against Michal Grosek for interfering with Brodeur.
But the Devils had the NHL's worst power play in the regular season and were 0-for-5 with the extra man Sunday.
Georges Laraque and Fernando Pisani also scored for the Oilers, who host Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Jason Arnott and Jere Lehtinen had the goals for Dallas, which led 1-0 until early in the third period.
With the game tied 2-2, Dvorak took the puck at center-ice, split the defense and fired a shot past Marty Turco at 5:38 of the third period.
Edmonton had to work hard to preserve the lead, killing a late holding penalty against Marty Reasoner. Then with 49 seconds remaining, Dallas pulled Turco for the extra attacker but couldnt score.
Dallas went into the third leading 1-0 on Arnotts power-play goal in the first.
But what had been a goaltenders duel between Turco and Edmontons Tommy Salo started to unravel at 2:33 of the third when Laraque muscled the puck up the boards and pushed it past Turco to tie it 1-1.
Lehtinen restored Dallass lead when he tossed the puck in front of the net and it bounced off Edmonton defenseman Scott Ferguson and past a stunned Salo.
But Pisani, an Edmonton native, rifled a shot from the top of the right circle past Turco less than a minute later to tie it and set the stage for Dvoraks winner.
The Oilers acquired the 26-year-old Czech from the New York Rangers along with defenseman Cory Cross at the trade deadline for forward Anson Carter and defenseman Ales Pisa.
Notes: Dallas D Derian Hatcher sat out with an automatic suspension resulting from misconducts in the first two games. ... The Stars also scratched Bill Guerin and Pierre Turgeon, who are out with injuries, as well as Steve Ott, Aaron Downey, John Erskine and Manny Malhotra. ... The Oilers went with the lineup they used the first two games, sitting Dan Cleary, Jason Chimera, Brian Swanson and Marc Andre Bergeron.
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