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Mighty Ducks celebrate
Defenseman Ruslan Salei scored at 6:59 of overtime to give Anaheim a 3-2 victory in Game 3 and tighten the Stanley Cup Finals 2-1.

Salei lifts Ducks
to overtime victory

By Phil Coffey |
May 31, 2003

ANAHEIM -- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim finally broke through against New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur Saturday night and as a result, Anaheim moved right back into the thick of things in the Stanley Cup Finals.

"It looks like this has a chance to be a series now," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said after defenseman Ruslan Salei scored at 6:59 of overtime to give the Mighty Ducks a 3-2 win in Game 3 that makes the Finals 2-1 in New Jersey's favor.

Adam Oates cleanly won a draw in the New Jersey end and got the puck to Salei on the rim of the left circle. His quick shot eluded Brodeur to the long side to send the sellout crowd at the Arrowhead Pond home with triumphant memories of another overtime win by the Ducks. Anaheim is now 6-0 in extra time this spring. The Devils fell to 2-3.

"We needed a game to get some momentum going," Salei said. "It's an unbelievable feeling right now, but it's just one game. Hopefully this will be a six or seven game series."

From a New Jersey standpoint the game was an odd one as Brodeur surrendered a fluky goal in the second period less than a minute after the Devils had tied the game. Mighty Ducks defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh dumped the puck into the New Jersey end to Brodeur's left. As the New Jersey goalie came out to play the puck, he dropped his stick and watched in horror as the puck caromed off the dropped goal stick and skidded between his legs and into the net for a 2-1 Anaheim lead that instantly killed off the momentum the Devils had built from their goal.

"Definitely this ranks up there with the weird ones in my career," Brodeur said of the mistake. "We came back and that's important. It's not easy coming back after a goal like that and we did."

But considering how strong Brodeur has been this season and also considering the shutouts he posted in Games 1 and 2, it wasn't surprising that New Jersey coach Pat Burns shrugged off Brodeur's mistake.

"It happens to the best of goalies," Burns said. "It's not the end of the world. We're not going to fault our goalie for that."

After an uncharacteristic emotional outburst Friday when he bristled that the Ducks weren't in the same class as the Devils, Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was one cool customer Saturday night. He extended his scoreless streak in playoff overtime to 167:48, a record-breaking performance that erased a Patrick Roy mark from the record books.

The Mighty Ducks had dominated the faceoff circle all night, but the Devils had held them off until Oates, one of the best draw men in NHL history, beat Pascal Rheaume on the faceoff that set the winning play into motion.

Anaheim won 63 percent of the draws Saturday night, taking 51 of 81 that gave them a huge edge in puck possession. Oates won 56 percent of his draws (13-10). Steve Rucchin (19-8), Paul Kariya (10-7) and Samuel Pahlsson (7-5) also won the majority of their faceoffs. The Devils' cause in these Finals hasn't been helped by the continuing absence of veteran center Joe Nieuwendyk, who has missed the first three games of the Finals with an injury.

"It's really big," Babcock said of faceoff superiority. "Puck possession is everything. If you're going to have any success against this team, you have to be so poised with the puck."

Patrik Elias scores
New Jersey tied the game at one off splendid passing at 14:02 of the second as Patrik Elias scored his fourth goal of the postseason.
For Burns, the faceoff woes are part of a season-long trend.

"I have been worried all year long about my faceoff situation," he said. "It's nothing new. Joe Nieuwendyk not being here, that really hurts us. We struggled a good part of the season on faceoffs. It came down to that."

Anaheim will look to tie the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night when Game 4 is played at the Pond (8 p.m. ABC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio).

Riding the momentum of two second-period goals, the Mighty Ducks appeared to be in command of the contest, but a deft deflection by Scott Gomez at 9:11 of the third period tied the game and a score of great saves by Brodeur and Giguere kept the 2-2 tie intact and forced overtime.

The Devils gained possession of a loose puck in the Anaheim end and New Jersey winger Grant Marshall turned in the high slot and fired a shot at the Anaheim net. At the same moment, Gomez pulled away from Keith Carney and redirected the puck past Giguere to knot the score, 2-2, at 9:11.

The goaltenders took center stage for the remainder of the third period, especially Brodeur, who turned away Rucchin and Petr Sykora during as power play, while seeing another Sykora shot clang off the outside of the post.

With 7:11 left on the clock, Brodeur came up with another standout save on Paul Kariya from the slot. With 5:32 remaining, Brodeur made another great save on a drive off the stick by Stanislav Chistov and he helped his cause further by forcefully kicking the rebound past an onrushing Steve Thomas.

Martin Broduer allows goal
Martin Brodeur's flub of Sandis Ozolinsh's dump in gave the Mighty Ducks a 2-1 lead.
Marc Chouinard finally broke the ice for the Mighty Ducks at 3:39 of the second period, scoring Anaheim's first goal of the Finals while ending Brodeur's shutout streak in the Finals at 143:39.

Chouinard scored off a scramble in the New Jersey end and didn't even see the goal as he wheeled in the slot and put the puck on the New Jersey net while being checked. The puck appeared to have eyes as it slid just out of the reach of Brodeur and into the net.

Getting the first goal has been a harbinger of victory for these teams. The Devils are 10-0 when scoring first in a game and Anaheim was 8-0 in the Playoffs headed into Saturday's game when scoring first.

New Jersey scored the equalizer off splendid passing at 14:02 of the second as Patrik Elias scored his fourth goal of the postseason. The Ducks were caught out of position as sharp passing from Scott Stevens to Brian Rafalski to Jamie Langenbrunner resulted in Elias breaking in on Giguere all alone. Elias' shot was so hard Giguere didn't have time to react as is snapped him high to the stick side.

Then, only 45 seconds after Elias' goal, came what may become known in Stanley Cup lore as "The Fluke." Chances are the sequence will never be recreated, but the end result was a 2-1 Anaheim lead.

As the Pond rocked, Brodeur slumped to the ice and looked to the rafters in disbelief. But that was the hard reality facing New Jersey. Langenbrunner was looking at the rafters at the end of the second when he had an open net but mishandled the puck with the Devils on the power play.

J.S. Giguere
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere extended his scoreless streak in playoff overtime to 167:48, a record-breaking performance that erased a Patrick Roy mark from the record books.
The Mighty Ducks hit the ice with plenty of emotion to start Game 3 and it nearly cost them as Steve Thomas was called for cross-checking John Madden just 15 seconds into the game and Mike LeClerc was whistled off for slashing at 3:58.

But the Devils' poor power play continued to plague them as New Jersey was unable to mount any testing shots on Giguere.

Anaheim's goal in the first period, was ... well, a goal. But the first 20 minutes ended in a scoreless tie, although the Ducks did out-shoot the Devils by a shot, 9-8.

Kariya had a golden opportunity to score Anaheim's first goal of the Finals with 3:45 remaining in the first when he pounced on a rebound and appeared to have some open net. But Brodeur displayed great lateral speed and got across to block the shot with his left pad.

Thomas had another good shot late in the first with Anaheim on the power play as New Jersey defenseman Brian Rafalski was boxed for hooking at 18:29. But Thomas' drive from in close was denied by Brodeur, who added another scoreless period to his Finals resume while increasing his overall shutout streak to 158:07, dating back to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Ottawa.


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