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NHL PLAYOFFS

Joseph Has Hot Hand Again, 2-0

April 27, 2001|From Associated Press

So much for the rumors about Curtis Joseph having a sore right hand. Hot hand is more appropriate.

Joseph stopped 32 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs showed their new playoff look is for real, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 2-0, on Thursday night at East Rutherford, N.J., in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal.

Joseph's third shutout of the playoffs and 12th of his career came after days of speculation about his right hand. He didn't use it much in practice all week, sparking rumors that it was injured.

"Whoever made that up is full of it," Devil center Jason Arnott said with more than a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

Joseph, who would not comment on his hand in recent days, just smiled when asked if it was safe to say that his hand didn't bother him.

"No comment," he said.

Nik Antropov and former Devil forward Steve Thomas scored to provide the support for Joseph, and Toronto's penalty killers blanked New Jersey on eight extra-man chances in getting a little revenge for a miserable six-shot performance in being eliminated in Game 6 last year.

Pittsburgh 3, Buffalo 0--Mario Lemieux and Johan Hedberg teamed up to lead the Penguins to another playoff victory in a game that could prove costly for Pittsburgh.

Jaromir Jagr, the regular-season scoring champion, missed the third period at Buffalo, N.Y., with a leg injury as Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo in the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Penguins would say only that Jagr had a "charley horse" injury, and gave no information on his status for Game 2 on Saturday.

Jagr did manage to set up Lemieux's goal 5:07 into the game. Jan Hrdina, set up by Beranek, sealed the victory by scoring with six minutes left. Former Sabre forward Wayne Primeau, set up by Lemieux, made it 3-0 with 2:20 remaining.

Hedberg, in only his fifth week in the NHL, then did the rest, stopping 25 shots to record his second shutout of the playoffs.

Maple Leafs 2, Devils 0

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