Sunday, June 1, 2003

They're no longer sitting Ducks

Stanley Cup Finals: Anaheim defeats Devils 3-2 in OT

The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Martin Brodeur showed he's not perfect, but the Anaheim Mighty Ducks still are in playoff overtime - and that's why they're still alive in the Stanley Cup finals.

Ruslan Salei scored off Adam Oates' faceoff win at 6:59 into overtime and the Mighty Ducks, taking advantage of one of the biggest misplays of Brodeur's career, beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in Game 3 Saturday night.

Oates fed the puck off the faceoff to Salei at the top of the slot, and Brodeur barely reacted to his one-timer as the Mighty Ducks improved to 6-0 in playoff overtimes. The Devils are 2-2.

It was essentially a must-win game for the Ducks, who played with the desperation expected of a team that trailed 2-0 in the series and almost certainly would have had no chance to raise the cup had it lost.

Ducks coach Mike Babcock joked that Salei is one of his hardest shooters, if not the most accurate.

"He can really shoot the puck. We always tell him shoot the puck on net once in a while," Babcock said. "He bangs the puck off the glass with the best of them."

Salei said the faceoff win was so clean, "You've got to shoot. So far, it's the biggest goal I've ever scored. We had to win this game. We had to get some momentum going. Now maybe it will go seven games, or six."

Salei's goal was his second of the playoffs.

Game 4 will be Monday night, when the Devils can either take a commanding 3-1 lead or the Mighty Ducks will tie a series they seemed out of following two dominating Devils wins in New Jersey.

Overtime playoff wins have largely been responsible for Anaheim's remarkable playoff run, which began with three consecutive series-opening overtime victories.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been unbeatable in overtime, with an NHL-record overtime scoreless streak of 166 minutes, 4 seconds. He broke Patrick Roy's record of 162:56 early in the OT.

Giguere stopped 29 of 31 shots in by far his best game of the finals.

The Devils trailed 2-1 in the second after Brodeur lost his stick and couldn't defend Sandis Ozolinsh's seemingly harmless shot as it trickled in from the blue line.

"It happens to the best of the goaltenders," Devils coach Pat Burns said. "You don't think Patrick Roy ever made a play like that? It's not the end of the world. You're going to fault the goaltender for that? I'm not."

At a glance


Thursday's Game 2

New Jersey 3, Anaheim 0

Saturday's Game 3

Anaheim 3, New Jersey 2, OT; Devils lead series 2-1

Monday's Game 4

N. Jersey at Anaheim, 8 p.m.

Thursday's Game 5

Anaheim at New Jersey, 8 p.m.

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