- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils suddenly are in a lot of trouble.
The Colorado Avalanche came into Continental Airlines Arena last night and punished the Devils 3-1, with Patrick Roy once again besting Martin Brodeur in a battle of goalies.
The Devils had a short-lived lead in the game but have been outscored 9-3 in the series.
The win gave Colorado a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup finals with Game 4 in New Jersey tomorrow night. Game 5 is in Denver on Monday night.
"Our leadership, our tenacity, our skill all came through for us tonight," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "We are taking this one game at a time because that is the attitude of our players in the room."
Ray Bourque, the sentimental favorite of many hockey fans who do not reside in the New Jersey area, put Colorado up 2-1 early in the final period, and that seemed to sap the Devils even though they trailed by only a goal. But the home team had been outplayed from the start of the second period, and Roy was up to every flurry the Devils started.
Bourque's huge goal came while Jason Arnott was sitting in the penalty box for slamming Colorado defenseman Adam Foote into the boards with a minute left in the second period. Arnott was called for boarding, with the second half of the penalty coming in the third.
With a draw in the Devils' end, Joe Sakic took the faceoff and used his left foot to get the puck back to the right point, where Bourque was positioned. The 40-year-old defenseman took the puck, moved slightly to his left and unloaded, driving a 35-foot missile past Brodeur's left shoulder 31 seconds after the third period started. It was Bourque's fourth goal of the current playoffs and the 41st of his lengthy playoff career. It is believed he is the oldest player to score a goal in Stanley Cup finals history.
Colorado zipped to a two-goal lead at 6:28 of the third when the Devils uncharacteristically committed a major defensive mistake, with defenders colliding and leaving Brodeur badly exposed. Ville Nieminen carried the puck down the right side, froze Brodeur in his tracks as the 2-on-1 developed and passed to rookie Dan Hinote. Brodeur wasn't even in the picture when Hinote slipped the puck into the vacant net.
"I felt we had great focus tonight," Hartley said. "That third goal [by Hinote] was obviously a very big goal for us. One of the keys to the game was we kept going after them, kept applying pressure in the neutral zone. We broke down their plays."
Roy, who has come agonizingly close to some long-standing records during the finals, came close to another one last night. He was scored on 3:16 into the game the first goal he had allowed on the road during the finals in 156 minutes, 28 seconds, dating back to the last two games of the 1996 finals against the Florida Panthers. The record for consecutive scoreless minutes on the road in the finals is held by Frank McCool of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who shut out the Detroit Red Wings for 168:21 in 1945.
The goal that beat Roy came from the Devils' Arnott, center of the A-line, which had been shutout for the first two games of the series. Arnott's goal, his eighth of the postseason, was a result of adroit passing from Bobby Holik and Patrik Elias as the center beat Roy through the goalie's legs from the left-wing circle. It was a power-play score at 3:16 of the first, with defenseman Adam Foote in the box for tripping Petr Sykora.
It took a little more than seven minutes for the Avalanche to knot the score, getting a major contribution from an unexpected source. Defenseman Martin Skoula, playing just his 19th career playoff game, shot high from the left circle into a crowd. Brodeur did not appear to see it until it glanced off the inside edge of the right post and into the net at 10:38 of the first.
The opening period was reasonably close, but once the second period started, it was all Avalanche. Colorado forced the Devils out of their trap and opened up the game, outshooting New Jersey 11-3 in the middle period. The Avalanche did not score but probably raised the Devils' doubts.
Even after falling behind by a goal, before Hinote secured the game, New Jersey failed to respond. The Devils were playing a more physical game, but the Avalanche all but ignored that fact, concentrating on the more important aspect winning the game.
Notes Devils coach Larry Robinson, who won six Cups as a Hall of Fame defenseman in Montreal, compared the Devils and Canadiens press corps yesterday. He said he was "very fortunate that I have such a great group to work with" in New Jersey. "They are not overbearing. They don't try to get into your personal lives. They follow the game… . They write about the things people like to read about. They have been nothing but fair," he said.
On Montreal: "Every day there was 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, whatever it was, papers [following] us." The quote was not missed by Montreal writers… .
Teams winning Game 3 when the series had been tied 1-1 have won the Cup 19 of 22 times.

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