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Devils open with 3-3 tie in Boston

Posted: Thursday, October 09, 2003

BOSTON The Bruins are fighting the Red Sox for attention in Boston these days. In the NHL, though, they might be moving up in the pecking order.

Jeff Jillson scored twice in his Bruins debut, the second to tie the game with 3:58 left in regulation on Wednesday night as Boston opened the season with a 3-3 tie against the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils.

''Every year, they're up there and battling for the Stanley Cup,'' said Bruins goalie Felix Potvin, who stopped 32 shots in his Boston debut. ''I think we held our own against those guys.''

With many in the crowd following the AL playoff game between the Yankees and Red Sox in New York, the Bruins rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second period only to fall behind on Scott Niedermayer's second goal of the game.

But Jillson tied it when he faked out a defenseman in front of the left circle and wristed a shot past goaltender Martin Brodeur. Joe Thornton also scored for the Bruins, who got new coach Mike Sullivan a point in his debut as an NHL head coach.

That gave the Boston fans two reasons to go home happy, because the Red Sox were leading the New York Yankees 5-0 in Game 1 of the AL championship series when the hockey game ended; the Red Sox went on to win 5-2. The baseball scoring updates were posted on the video board, getting the biggest cheers of the night.

''As soon as they put the 4-0 score up there, the crowd went crazy and we built off that,'' Thornton said. Asked if he minded that the fans were cheering louder for the Red Sox than the Bruins, Thornton said, ''As long as they're cheering out there we don't care if it's Red Sox or Bruins.''

Brian Rafalski had two assists, and Jeff Friesen also scored for the Devils. Brodeur stopped 28 shots for New Jersey, which beat Boston in the first round of the playoffs 4-1 on its way to the title.

''It's been a long training camp,'' Brodeur said. ''But we're all looking forward to the challenge of defending the Cup.''

Niedermayer's second goal was the 100th of his career. The defenseman also cleared the puck off the goal line with just over two minutes left in overtime.

The first period was scoreless, then New Jersey took a 2-0 lead on a pair of power-play goals.

The Devils made it 1-0 just 42 seconds into the second period when Niedermayer stickhandled through the defense and slipped the puck under Potvin's pads. Friesen made it 2-0 at 12:40 of the second when he knocked in his own rebound.

The Bruins pulled within one at 14:31 of the second when Jillson's slap shot went off Brodeur's left shoulder and trickled into the net. Thornton tied it with 15.2 seconds left in the period, coming from behind the net and stuffing the puck through Brodeur's legs.

Stars 4, Mighty Ducks 1

DALLAS Jean-Sebastien Giguere wasn't able to carry his postseason magic into the new season.

Giguere allowed goals on the second and third shots against him, then gave up another in each of the final two periods as Dallas beat Anaheim in the season opener.

Sergei Zubov and Stu Barnes beat him on shots 30 seconds apart in the game's opening minutes, then Zubov made a superb pass to set up Barnes for the third goal, which Giguere had little chance to stop. Bill Guerin flipped in the final goal on a breakaway midway through the third period.

Giguere finished with 18 saves in his first game since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.

Marty Turco, who set a modern-day record for goals-against average last season, made 20 saves.

Rob Niedermayer scored the lone goal for Anaheim.

Blackhawks 1, Wild 0

CHICAGO Jocelyn Thibault stopped 33 shots, and Tyler Arnason scored early in the second period to lift Chicago past Minnesota Wild in the season opener for both teams.

Thibault teamed with the Blackhawks' penalty killers to snuff all seven Minnesota power-play chances. He had eight shutouts last season, second best in the NHL, and beat Buffalo 3-0 in the Blackhawks' home opener a year ago.

With the Chicago Cubs hosting Game 2 of the National League championship series, only 13,903 were in attendance to see the Blackhawks, who have missed the playoffs five of the past six seasons.



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