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Brodeur Gets Best of Richter, Rangers

May 03, 1997|From Associated Press

Mike Richter made a habit of stealing games from the New Jersey Devils in the regular season, but Martin Brodeur didn't let the New York Ranger goalie do it again in the playoffs as the cross-river rivals opened the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday night.

Brodeur had 21 saves to record his second consecutive playoff shutout and Scott Niedermayer scored a power-play goal as the Devils defeated the Rangers, 2-0, at New Jersey.

"I think defensively we were really on top of our game early and it went through the whole game," Brodeur said. "It's a lot of fun to see that early in the series. We were able to control them pretty well."

Defense and Brodeur won, but only after Richter put up a gallant effort, stopping 32 shots. During the regular season, the Devils threw 190 shots at him in five games and New York still won the series, 2-1-2.

"If we were going against a goalie who is not that hot, we'd have been up, four-nothing," Brodeur said. "Mike had a big difference for them to stay in the game as long as they did."

Brodeur, who shut out Montreal, 4-0, in Game 5 to win the first-round series, was at his best in the final period when he made seven saves.

Four of them were great. He stopped Luc Robitaille two minutes into the period on a shot from the right faceoff circle. He made a great stop on defenseman Doug Lidster's blast from the right point on a rebound with nine minutes left.

Brodeur stopped Robitaille on another shot from the right faceoff circle and a rebound attempt by Shane Churla to preserve his sixth career playoff shutout, his third against the Rangers.

John MacLean scored into an empty net with four seconds remaining to close out the scoring and send New York to its eighth consecutive loss in a playoff series opener.

"We were on our heels a little bit," Ranger center Wayne Gretzky said. "Not to be critical of our team, but whether it was three periods or three days, it still would have been 2-0."

Colorado 5, Edmonton 1--Peter Forsberg had two goals and an assist and Joe Sakic added three assists to lead the Avalanche past the Oilers at Denver in the opening game of their second-round playoff series.

Patrick Roy made 35 saves to extend his NHL record for playoff victories by a goalie to 91. Edmonton's Curtis Joseph, a standout in the opening-round series victory over Dallas, had 32.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche took a 2-0 lead after one period, giving them a 14-6 advantage over their opponents in goals scored in the first period of this year's playoffs.

Eric Lacroix scored his first career playoff goal, fighting off defenseman Greg de Vries behind the goal and slipping the puck between Joseph's legs on a wraparound at 3:10. It was Lacroix's first goal in 26 games.

Six minutes later, Claude Lemieux got his sixth goal of the playoffs, scoring on a back-handed shot from the slot at 9:08 after beating Bryan Marchment.

Midway through the period, Roy made a glove save of Boris Mironov's shot after the Oiler defenseman made an acrobatic move to get open in the slot.

The Oilers, with eight rookies seeing action, cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the second period on a giveaway by Roy. But Colorado countered with two more goals. Forsberg, cleverly using defenseman Marchment as a screen, scored from the top of the right circle at 12:28. Sandis Ozolinsh beat Joseph just inside the right circle at 16:16.

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