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Devils top Lightning for 2-0 series lead

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Jamie Langenbrunner made Vincent Lecavalier's already tough game that much worse.

Langenbrunner went around the struggling Tampa Bay forward and scored his second straight game-winner 2:09 into overtime Saturday as the New Jersey Devils beat the Lightning 3-2.

New Jersey leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-0, with the next two games in Florida. Game 3 is Monday.

Langenbrunner, who has seven goals in seven games this postseason, took a pass from John Madden and fired a shot from the right circle that goalie Nikolai Khabibulin fumbled. Langenbrunner rushed in past Lecavalier for the rebound, made a move around Khabibulin, and slid the puck in.

I hit a pretty poor shot and hit him right in the chest,'' Langenbrunner said. I hit him high enough that it was hard to control it. Coach has been preaching going to the net all week and fortunately it came right back out to me.''

Langenbrunner had 10 playoff goals in 1999 to help Dallas to the Stanley Cup title. He had 25 goals in the regular season for the Devils.

He's a guy that doesn't stop working,'' captain Scott Stevens said. He comes to play every night and he's got a lot of energy. He competes and that's what the playoffs are all about.''

Lecavalier is having a tough time generating offense against Madden's checking line. After recording just one shot in Tampa Bay's Game 1 loss, Lecavalier the team's second-leading scorer in the regular season had no shots Saturday.

But the Lightning have been here before. They lost the first two games of the first round to Washington and then won four straight.

Against Washington I didn't produce the first two games and after that it went well,'' Lecavalier said. Hopefully it's going to be the same way.''

The Devils had to rally twice to win this one.

Not long after New Jersey's Martin Brodeur stacked the pads to stop Martin St. Louis' breakaway, Grant Marshall got the Devils even for the second time. Scott Gomez took a shot from the slot that was knocked in by Marshall to make it 2-2 with 9:34 remaining in regulation.

St. Louis' short-handed goal on another breakaway gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Brodeur had that in mind when St. Louis came in alone again.

I wanted him to make the first move,'' Brodeur said. When he went to his backhand, I just kind of stacked the pads and made the save.

When the same guy gets two breakaways, sometimes it gets in your head. I was calm and able to make the save.''

Brian Rafalski had the other New Jersey goal.

The Lightning grabbed their first lead of the series with 7:35 left in the first period.

Chris Dingman lightly deflected Dan Boyle's pass through the legs of New Jersey defenseman Scott Niedermayer and past Brodeur for his first playoff goal in 23 career games to make it 1-0.

It snapped Brodeur's shutout streak of 132 minutes, 25 seconds and New Jersey's run of 148:48 without allowing a goal. The Devils weren't scored on since the third period of their Game 4 loss to Boston.

New Jersey got even late in the second period that was dominated by Devils penalties and an ineffective Tampa Bay power play. After taking one penalty in their Game 1 victory, New Jersey was whistled for four in the second.

Having weathered that, the Devils were given their second power play of the game with 2:31 left. It had 22 seconds remaining when Tim Taylor was called for roughing, giving New Jersey a two-man advantage.

The Devils were 3-for-26 on the power play in these playoffs before cashing in on Rafalski's goal with two seconds left on the first penalty. Rafalski scored with 33.4 seconds left in the period.

Mighty Ducks 3, Stars 2, OT

DALLAS Once the Anaheim Mighty Ducks got a lucky bounce that led to another overtime, they extended their postseason perfection.

And they put the top-seeded Dallas Stars in a deep hole in the Western Conference semifinals.

Rob Niedermayer scored off a Dallas skate with just 1:09 left in regulation, and then Mike Leclerc gathered a loose puck and scored on a left-handed wrister 1:44 into overtime as Anaheim beat the Stars 3-2 on Saturday, taking a 2-0 series lead.

I don't know what it is about this group,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. We just hang around and hang around and we don't go away. You give yourself a chance.''

This time, Anaheim needed just a couple of minutes, instead of a couple of hours, in overtime to get the game-winner.

Game 2 began just 37 1/2 hours after the five-overtime series opener, the fourth-longest in NHL history at 140 minutes and 48 seconds, that the Ducks won 4-3 on Petr Sykora's goal.

The Mighty Ducks are undefeated in six playoffs games, all by one goal. They swept defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit, including a three-overtime game and the first-round series clincher in an extra period.

It's been quite a roll. I don't think anybody would have predicted it,'' Niedermayer said. At the same time, things could be very different with a different bounce here and a different bounce there.''

The series switches to Anaheim for the next two games, giving the surprising Ducks the Western Conference's seventh-seeded team a chance to close another series without returning to Dallas next weekend. Game 3 is Monday night.

Dallas seemed on the way to getting even in the series, until Niedermayer's pass across the crease ricocheted off Stars forward Stu Barnes' skate in front of the net. Marty Turco, who had 24 saves, never had a chance to stop it.

Early in overtime, Brenden Morrow was unable to control the puck off the boards. Leclerc got it on his stick and quickly shot it toward the net and past Turco for the winner.

I had to get to the puck first because it was pretty far away,'' Leclerc said. I reached out for it, and you kind of know where the net is. I just wanted to go high so I threw it at the net, and it went in.''

Jean-Sebastien Giguere had another impressive game with 29 saves, including some incredible stops in the third period that kept the Ducks within a goal and made Niedermayer's goal an overtime-forcer.

Rob DiMaio's blast with about 12 minutes left bounded off Giguere's right shoulder. Giguere made a pad save to prevent Modano's shot off an odd-man rush with less than eight minutes left, then hung on when Kirk Muller tried to jam in a shot and ended up in a pile on top of the goalie.

It's frustrating. Sometimes as good as you want to be, the game doesn't let you be good,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. They get a goal off a skate. That's the way it goes.''

Giguere had stopped 60 shots in Game 1 after limiting Detroit to six goals in the first-round series.

Mike Modano scored on a long blast in the second period and also assisted on Morrow's tying power-play goal with 1.2 seconds left in the first for the Stars. Those goals came in a span of five shots.

I thought we did enough to win, but bad bounces and bad calls have a snowball effect,'' Modano said. I thought we outchanced them and outplayed them in every aspect of the game, but we haven't been lucky.''

Modano's 50th career playoff goal put the Stars ahead 2-1 in the second. Giguere couldn't see the puck since he was screened by Stars forward Jason Arnott, who pulled his stick out of the way just before the puck whizzed by Giguere.

Giguere made the initial stop on Sergei Zubov's shot from the top of the right circle at the end of the first, but Modano got a stick on the puck and Morrow punched it into an empty gap as the clock ran out.

As Giguere and several of his teammates left the ice for the locker room, thinking the period was over, the play was reviewed by officials. The goal counted and 1.2 seconds was put back on the clock. Backup goalie Martin Gerber quickly scampered off the bench into the net for the period-ending faceoff.

Until the last two goals, Turco had allowed only Adam Oates' goal when Anaheim had a two-man advantage in the first. That was the Ducks' first power-play goal of the postseason.

The Mighty Ducks were 0-for-18 on postseason power-play chances until Oates worked his way from the side of the net and knocked a shot past Turco, who got a piece of the puck but not enough to keep it out.

That came with 9:43 left in the first on Anaheim's second five-one-three, and during a continuous stretch of almost four minutes when the Ducks had at least a man advantage.

Notes: Dallas forward Bill Guerin, out since Feb. 27 with a thigh injury but close to returning, was scratched again. ... The Stars are 0-2 in a postseason for the first time since losing the first three to Detroit in the first round in 1995. This is their 13th playoff series since. The only time they've ever come back from 0-2 was 1968, in the franchise's first-ever playoff series.



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