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Devils start playing like Devils again

New Jersey uses nasty streak to even Stanley Cup finals with Avalanche

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

DENVER -- Scott Stevens was spitting mad, Ken Daneyko was dripping blood. The New Jersey Devils have that look in their eyes again -- the one that says they won't be pushed around, even by the Colorado Avalanche.

New Jersey's stars were shut out again, but the Devils -- playing with an anger and an attitude that were missing in Game 1 -- manufactured goals from Bob Corkum and Turner Stevenson to beat the Avalanche 2-1 Tuesday night and even the Stanley Cup finals at a game each.

The series shifts to New Jersey for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Saturday, with the Devils hoping home ice is more of an edge than it was last year, when they lost there twice in three games but still beat Dallas in a six-game finals.

''We've got to come out in Game 3 the same way we came out tonight,'' Stevens said. ''We needed a big effort from everybody and we got it. You expect the usual goal scorers to score, but two unlikely guys scored.''

New Jersey allowed 30 shots in an out-of-character 5-0 loss in Game 1 in which the normally cantankerous Devils played with little intensity, but they wouldn't be shoved around this time, allowing only 14 shots in the final 55 minutes.

The open ice the Avalanche had throughout Game 1 was missing, the Devils' trapping defense that was so smothering in the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh was back. And so was their emotion.

Stevens, on the ice for three goals Saturday, proved the Devils weren't intimidated, skating to the Avalanche bench and spitting toward defenseman Adam Foote early in the second period, after the Devils had scored twice in less than three minutes.

''I didn't see that. Didn't see it at all, and Footie didn't mention it,'' Colorado's Dave Reid said. ''Knowing Footie, he would have gone ballistic.''

Daneyko, who has played in every Devils playoff game ever, later took a stick to the face and had to have his bleeding nose patched by trainers. But, yelling several times at the Colorado bench, he was especially active in a third period that saw the Devils kill two early power plays that represented the Avalanche's best chance to get back in the game.

''We had a lot more effort than we had the other night,'' Stevenson said. ''His (Corkum's) goal was a big goal -- he hasn't played in a long time, and that's tough on anyone.''

Colorado, which had converted 10 of its last 33 power-play chances going into the game, was only 1-of-6 and didn't score after Joe Sakic's power-play goal at 5:58 of the first period.

''We just weren't sharp out there,'' Sakic said. ''After they got the lead, they just shut it down. We didn't generate enough offense out there.''

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur also was back on his game after an off night in Game 1, this time outplaying Patrick Roy, who was less than two minutes away from breaking the Stanley Cup finals scoreless streak record before giving up two quick scores.

New Jersey's A-Line of Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora was shut out for the second successive game, but the Devils were saved by the D-liners, Corkum and Stevenson, neither of whom had scored in these playoffs.

The Avalanche, starting much like they did in Game 1, quickly got the game's first six shots and took a 1-0 lead when Sakic -- isn't he always around the puck? -- finished a four-shot flurry with his goal.

With Brodeur clutching at his back in pain at the left side of the net and unable to scramble back quickly to the other side, Sakic stuffed in a puck that Milan Hejduk had batted high in the air for his playoff-leading 12th goal.

The Devils seemed to be in big trouble -- not only was Colorado 10-0 when scoring first in the playoffs, but the Avalanche, taking advantage of the Devils' eagerness to be more physical than in Game 1, got the first three power plays.

''We got off to just the start we wanted,'' Colorado's Ray Bourque said. ''But that team doesn't quit. ... We let one slip away tonight.''

However, Colorado scored on only one of the three power plays, and the Devils tied it one second after the third one expired when Corkum, playing only because of Randy McKay's broken left hand, raced to a loose puck along the boards and beat Roy between the pads on a breakaway.

''They dumped it hard around the boards, and I got by the first forechecker,'' said Corkum, who had been scratched the previous four games. ''I got the shot off quick through his 5-hole, and thank God it went in.''

Corkum's goal, accentuated by a series of fist pumps as he skated behind the net, stopped two streaks -- Roy's scoreless streak of 227 minutes, 41 seconds in the finals and New Jersey's scoreless run of 74:29 in the series. Roy missed by 1:41 of breaking the cup finals record of 229:22 by Clint Benedict from 1923-26.

A third streak was stopped later -- Roy's nine-game winning streak in Stanley Cup finals games, two short of Ken Dryden's record.

''It didn't mean anything to me,'' Roy said.

A few minutes later, just as Colorado seemed to have wrested back the momentum by killing off a two-man advantage, Stevenson put a quick backhander from the slot past Roy off a rebound of a shot by Scott Niedermayer.

Roy, who had gone the equivalent of three games and two periods without allowing a finals goal, suddenly had given up two -- and the lead -- in a span of 2:51. The Avalanche never got it back.

''But no one thought it would be easy,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. ''We have to find a way to win in Jersey and get home ice back.''

Notes: The last goal scored on Roy was by Rob Niedermayer, Scott's brother, for Florida in the first period of Game 3 of the 1996 finals that Colorado swept. ... Colorado lost for the first time in six Stanley Cup finals games. ... The Avalanche trailed after the first period for the first time in their 18 playoff games. ... With McKay out, Bobby Holik wore an ''A'' as a Devils alternate captain. ... Neither Corkum nor Stevenson had scored in the playoffs since 1998; Corkum had gone 22 games without scoring, Stevenson 18. ... Colorado is 9-2 without injured star Peter Forsberg. ... The team winning Game 2 has won 10 of the last 12 finals, although Dallas won last year in New Jersey. ... The Devils are 4-1 on the road in the last two cup finals.



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