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Stanley Cup Finals Not Quite As Easy As Pie


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The New Jersey Devils Unofficial Web Site Newsletters

http://njdevils.info

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If a goal could be credited to an opposing player, Martin Brodeur would have one tonight. You could say it cost the Devils the game. You would be right. It was a mistake, however, and everyone is human.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were criticized after Game 2 for entering the Stanley Cup Finals on a ''fluke.'' Giguere quickly dismissed that theory however. And the Ducks, being at there home pond, wanted to prove it, and they did.

Tonight's game's importance could not be any greater. If the Ducks lost, they would be in serious trouble for Game 4. If they won, they would be right back in the Stanley Cup Finals, down 2-1 in the series. They knew this, the Devils knew this, and the fans knew this.

The Ducks opened the first period strong, pushing some weight around and getting the puck into the Devils zone, as well as getting shots on goal, something they couldn't seem to get in the previous two games. Their average shots on goal before tonight's game were 28.9. But instead, their combined shots on goal for games 1 and 2 were only 32. They picked that number right up, making 33 shots on goal for game 3.

The first period ended in a 0-0 tie, but the Devils seemed to be on their heels for a little part. It wasn't something great, as the Devils were creating offensive pressure, but they just seemed behind by a second. It became apparent in the second period, when Anaheim scored. Brodeur went to the corner to hit the puck around, but he didn't have enough time to get settled back in the crease when the shot came. It went in. But that wasn't the worst of it. The Devils did manage to tie the game up, from wrist shot from Patrik Elias. Giguere didn't even budge. But the tie game didn't last for more then a minute, as Brodeur let one in accidentally with a maneuver that could not be reproduced if you even tried. His stick got caught in his skate blades when trying to make a plain ordinary save, and the puck glanced off his skate blade on an angel that sent it into the net. That was the cause of the 2-1 lead for Anaheim. Sandis Ozolinsh received the credit for the goal, while Giguere received an assist.

Brodeur, however bad the mistake may be, rebounded from the fatal error to be big in the third period. But something different in this third period then the rest of the third periods occurred: Brodeur had to be big for 20 minutes. There were times in Games 1 and 2 where Brodeur could have sat down and played a game of solitaire before a shot came his way. Tonight, shots were coming from every angel and from every possible deflection.

Any fan of Brodeur will tell you that overtime is not his friend. In the past 17 OT's that Brodeur has played in, he has lost 9 of them. Not a record you want to have. Giguere has a current record of shutting out the opposing team in over 165 overtime minutes, a record that just beat Roy, just a couple of days after his retirement.

The Devils' face-offs had not been good all night. John Madden's left arm was sore in the middle of the second with a collision between him and Colin White. It showed. This is important for a very notorious reason. With 13:03 remaining on the clock, the Devils were behind in face-offs 50 to 30. At 13:01, the game was over, right off of a won face-off from Adam Oates. He gave got the puck back to Ruslan Salei who one-timed it passed Brodeur. Game over.

You may have noticed a name missing from this report that was commonly seen in the previous two: Jeff Friesen. By now, some of you may be saying, ''Oh yah

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