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
"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
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."
For Burns, the faceoff woes are part of a season-long trend.
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.
"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
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
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
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
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.
Martin Brodeur's flub of Sandis Ozolinsh's dump in gave the Mighty Ducks a 2-1 lead.
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
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.
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.
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.