Stars exorcise Devils in Game 2

Posted: Friday, June 02, 2000

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In the Stanley Cup playoffs, everything comes up golden if your last name is Hull.

Brett Hull, one of the greatest clutch scorers in Stanley Cup history, scored two goals Thursday night -- the second with 4:16 to play -- and the Dallas Stars rebounded from one of their worst playoff losses ever to beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Game 2 of the finals.

Goaltender Ed Belfour, pulled after allowing six goals in an admittedly embarrassing 7-3 loss in Game 1, bounced back to turn aside 27 of 28 shots and give the Stars the road split they were fearful they wouldn't get after Tuesday's dismal game.

''To come out even after that first game is a big boost to us,'' Hull said. ''We knew we had to play a great game to come away with a split.''

Hull won the Stanley Cup for the Stars last season, with his much-disputed in-the-crease goal in the third overtime of Game 6 in Buffalo. This time, he may have saved the Stars from losing the Cup.

It also helped that the Stars tightened up defensively and got an exceptional game from Belfour, who has won his last nine playoff games following a loss.

The game-winner came after nearly two scoreless periods. Mike Modano pushed the puck between the legs of Devils rookie defenseman Brian Rafalski to Jere Lehtinen, who fanned on a shot as he skated to the left of the net.

But the puck floated directly to the player known as the ''Golden Brett,'' who chopped it down and past Martin Brodeur for his 11th goal of the playoffs and 88th of his career. It was his 15th career multi-goal playoff game, one more than his famous father Bobby Hull, known as the ''Golden Jet.''

''What's his name, Lehtinen, he got a backhand and he kind of missed it,'' Brodeur said. ''I went to grab it with my glove and Hull just came along and batted it out of the air.''

Hull's fifth goal in his last four playoff games also was his 21st career game-winner in the playoffs, three short of record-holder Wayne Gretzky.

''I just went to the net and threw my stick out there, and I didn't know that it went in until Mike raised his arms,'' Hull said.

Afterward, Devils coach Larry Robinson complained Lehtinen was ''four feet offside'' on the play, but said, ''That's not why we lost. We didn't play our best game; they didn't play their best game (in Game 1). Now, it's 1-1.''

That's what pains the Devils the most -- the missed opportunity, and, of course, all the missed shots.

''The disappointing part of this game for us is it was certainly there for us,'' Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. ''We knew they were going to play better, but they didn't do anything unusual or spectacular like they were talking about. We could be up 2-0 and we're not, and that hurts.''

The Stars now have one huge statistical edge on their side going back to Dallas, where they have won 11 of their last 12 home playoff games: the team winning Game 2 has won 25 of the last 28 Stanley Cups.

The Stars also were 1-1 after Game 2 last year against Buffalo, and went on to win four of the next five to win their first Stanley Cup.

''We came out of here with the split, and I think we're fortunate after the first game,'' Belfour said.

The Stars, 4-0 in Game 2s in these playoffs, also got their first lead of the series from a familiar source -- yes, Brett Hull.

Hull put a hard wrist shot over Brodeur's glove that hit off the crossbar and fell across the goal line at 4:25 of the first period.

Modano also set up the goal, forcing a turnover from Rafalski -- sound familiar? -- along the boards 15 seconds after play resumed following a six-minute delay to fix some broken glass.

Hull has nearly half as many goals in the playoffs as he had all season, when his 24 goals were a full-season career low.

Just as it did in Game 1, the first period ended 1-1 as Alexander Mogilny answered for the Devils at 12:42, snapping a shot from the edge of the left circle off Scott Gomez's pass from the blue line. Gomez occupied three Stars in the neutral zone, allowing Mogilny to get a step on the defense.

It was a first for a Stanley Cup final -- one of the first stars to defect to the NHL from the former Soviet Union hockey dynasty being set up for a goal by the league's first Hispanic player.

Still, the Stars played just as they promised to after a Game 1 in which Belfour looked dazed and confused from cold medicine he was taking, allowing six goals on 18 shots.

''I felt a lot stronger. I was seeing the puck really well, and felt I was a lot more back on track,'' Belfour said. ''And I stayed away from the cold medicine.''

Belfour was on his game in Game 2, thrice turning aside Randy McKay shots on the doorstep and, another time, halting Bobby Holik at point-blank range.

''They were ripe for the taking tonight and we just didn't come through enough to win it,'' McKay said.

Belfour also held New Jersey's top line of Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias scoreless after they produced four goals and 11 points in Game 1. Dallas switched up and tried to match its first line, led by Hull and Modano, against the Devils' top line.

That Dallas top line, so silent in Game 1, generated nearly all of the Stars' scoring chances, and made Hull's two goals stand up behind Belfour's big night in goal.

''We let the hype and the nervousness get to us, I guess, in Game 1,'' Modano said. ''We felt embarrassed, It was more a pride factor tonight.

The Stars were well aware of the dangers of losing Game 2 and falling down 2-0 to a New Jersey team that had won four straight games, including the final three of the Eastern Conference finals against Philadelphia.

After Game 1, Hull said the Stars took the attitude that, ''It's a bad game. Let's go out and show 'em what it's all about.''

Only three teams since 1939 have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup: 1942 Toronto, 1966 Montreal and 1971 Montreal. No team in 29 years has done it.

It was the first loss in six games in Devils' Stanley Cup finals history. They swept Detroit as a big underdog in 1995 -- the last Stanley Cup won by an Eastern Conference champion -- and Game 1 of this series.

Game 3 will be Saturday night in Reunion Arena, with Game 4 there on Monday night.

y Cup history, scored two goals Thursday night -- the second with 4:16 to play -- and the Dallas Stars rebounded from one of their worst playoff losses ever to beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Game 2 of the finals.

Goaltender Ed Belfour, pulled after allowing six goals in an admittedly embarrassing 7-3 loss in Game 1, bounced back to turn aside 27 of 28 shots and give the Stars the road split they were fearful they wouldn't get after Tuesday's dismal game.

''To come out even after that first game is a big boost to us,'' Hull said. ''We knew we had to play a great game to come away with a split.''

Hull won the Stanley Cup for the Stars last season, with his much-disputed in-the-crease goal in the third overtime of Game 6 in Buffalo. This time, he may have saved the Stars from losing the Cup.

It also helped that the Stars tightened up defensively and got an exceptional game from Belfour, who has won his last nine playoff games following a loss.

The game-winner came after nearly two scoreless periods. Mike Modano pushed the puck between the legs of Devils rookie defenseman Brian Rafalski to Jere Lehtinen, who fanned on a shot as he skated to the left of the net.

But the puck floated directly to the player known as the ''Golden Brett,'' who chopped it down and past Martin Brodeur inside the far post for his 11th goal of the playoffs and 88th of his career. It was his 15th career multi-goal playoff game, one more than his famous father Bobby Hull, known as the ''Golden Jet.''

It was Hull's fifth goal in his last four playoff games.

''I was patient and tried to let Jere and Brett get open,'' Modano said.

Brodeur said, ''What's his name, Lehtinen, he got a backhand and he kind of missed it. I went to grab it with my glove and Hull just came along and batted it out of the air.''

Afterward, Devils coach Larry Robinson complained Lehtinen was ''four feet offside'' on the play, but said, ''That's not why we lost. We didn't play our best game; they didn't play their best game (in Game 1). Now, it's 1-1.''

That's what pains the Devils the most -- the missed opportunity, and, of course, all the missed shots.

''The disappointing part of this game for us is it was certainly there for us,'' Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. ''We knew they were going to play better, but they didn't do anything unusual or spectacular like they were talking about. We could be up 2-0 and we're not, and that hurts.''

The Stars now have one huge statistical edge on their side going back to Dallas, where they have won 11 of their last 12 home playoff games: the team winning Game 2 has won 25 of the last 28 Stanley Cups.

The Stars also were 1-1 after Game 2 last year against Buffalo, and went on to win four of the next five to win their first Stanley Cup.

''We came out of here with the split, and I think we're fortunate after the first game,'' Belfour said.

The Stars, 4-0 in Game 2s in these playoffs, also got their first lead of the series from a familiar source -- yes, Brett Hull.

Hull put a hard wrist shot over Brodeur's glove that hit off the crossbar and fell across the goal line at 4:25 of the first period.

Modano also set up the goal, forcing a turnover from Rafalski -- sound familiar? -- along the boards 15 seconds after play resumed following a six-minute delay to fix some broken glass.

Hull has nearly half as many goals in the playoffs as he had all season, when his 24 goals were a full-season career low.

Just as it did in Game 1, the first period ended 1-1 as Alexander Mogilny answered for the Devils at 12:42, snapping a shot from the edge of the left circle off Scott Gomez's pass from the blue line. Gomez occupied three Stars in the neutral zone, allowing Mogilny to get a step on the defense.

It was a first for a Stanley Cup final -- one of the first stars to defect to the NHL from the former Soviet Union hockey dynasty being set up for a goal by the league's first Hispanic player.

Still, the Stars played just as they promised to after a Game 1 in which Belfour looked dazed and confused from cold medicine he was taking, allowing six goals on 18 shots.

''I felt a lot stronger. I was seeing the puck really well, and felt I was a lot more back on track,'' Belfour said. ''And I stayed away from the cold medicine.''

Belfour was on his game in Game 2, thrice turning aside Randy McKay shots on the doorstep and, another time, halting Bobby Holik at point-blank range.

''They were ripe for the taking tonight and we just didn't come through enough to win it,'' McKay said.

Belfour also held New Jersey's top line of Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias scoreless after they produced four goals and 11 points in Game 1. Dallas switched up and tried to match its first line, led by Hull and Modano, against the Devils' top line.

That Dallas top line, so silent in Game 1, generated nearly all of the Stars' scoring chances, and made Hull's two goals stand up behind Belfour's big night in goal.

''We let the hype and the nervousness get to us, I guess, in Game 1,'' Modano said. ''We felt embarrassed, It was more a pride factor tonight.

The Stars were well aware of the dangers of losing Game 2 and falling down 2-0 to a New Jersey team that had won four straight games, including the final three of the Eastern Conference finals against Philadelphia.

After Game 1, Hull said the Stars took the attitude that, ''It's a bad game. Let's go out and show 'em what it's all about.''

Only three teams since 1939 have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup: 1942 Toronto, 1966 Montreal and 1971 Montreal. No team in 29 years has done it.

It was the first loss in six games in Devils' Stanley Cup finals history.

They swept Detroit as a big underdog in 1995 -- the last Stanley Cup won by an Eastern Conference champion -- and Game 1 of this series.

Game 3 will be Saturday night in Reunion Arena, with Game 4 there on Monday night.



CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS