Avalanche level series with Red Wings

Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2002

DENVER -- After squandering seven leads against Detroit, the Colorado Avalanche were finally able to build on one.

They sure needed it.

Patrick Roy stopped 31 shots and Chris Drury scored late in the third period as the Avalanche beat the Red Wings 3-2 Saturday to even the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

Drury scored his fifth of the playoffs and second game-winner of the series by one-timing a pass from Peter Forsberg over Dominik Hasek's glove with 3:17 left.

It marked Colorado's first two-goal lead since Game 4 against San Jose in the conference semifinals and just the second lead the defending Stanley Cup champions have held against Detroit.

Drury's game-winner in overtime of Game 2 was the only other Colorado lead to stand.

''We have given up so many leads, but today we did a better job,'' said Forsberg, who has at least one point in 11 of his last 12 playoff games. ''Maybe we're learning, hopefully we're learning. It's going to be a long series and if we're going to win, we have to be able to keep the lead.''

Drury's goal proved vital, as Brett Hull made it 3-2 with 2.7 seconds left on a wrister from just outside the crease. Colorado won the ensuing faceoff and Detroit wasn't able to get off a shot.

Game 5 is Monday night in Detroit.

''I thought we pressed right to the end,'' Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. ''I was very proud of our team today. You like to get the results, but we played well. I know that's not good enough, but it's always worse if you lose and play poorly.''

Joe Sakic, who had just two shots in Game 3, put Colorado up 2-1 45 seconds into the third period, beating Hasek stickside with a wrister from the slot. Greg de Vries set up the goal, stealing a pass from Chris Chelios near the center line.

It was Sakic's ninth goal of the playoffs.

''I thought that when Sakic scored the goal at the start of the third, they got more of the momentum after that,'' Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom said. ''We couldn't really get it going like we did in the first and second period.''

Maple Leafs 1, Hurricanes 0

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Could this be the start of yet another playoff comeback by the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Darcy Tucker scored in the first period and Curtis Joseph turned away 27 shots as the Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 Saturday night to stay alive in the Eastern Conference finals.

With assistant coach Rick Ley filled in for an ailing Pat Quinn behind the bench, Toronto snapped Carolina's three-game winning streak and now returns to the Air Canada Centre for Game 6 Tuesday night trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

It was the fourth elimination game that the Leafs have won this postseason.

The Prince of Wales Trophy was in the arena, but Carolina couldn't clinch its first trip to the Stanley Cup finals despite desperate hockey in the third period -- the kind of play it could have used much earlier. A shot by Rod Brind'Amour with 17.3 seconds left could have tied it, but he hit the post and spun out of the crease.

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