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Devil Defense Is Holding Down the Senators

May 17, 2003|From Associated Press

After shutting down Joe Thornton in the first round and Vincent Lecavalier in the second, the New Jersey Devils are stifling perhaps the best right side in hockey.

Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat and Daniel Alfredsson, the Ottawa Senators' high-scoring right wings, have combined for only two assists in the first three games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Devils.

They are being held in check just as Boston's Thornton and Tampa Bay's Lecavalier were in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The lack of production is one of the big reasons the Senators trail the best-of-seven series, 2-1, and are in a little trouble heading into Game 4 today at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.

"I think it's an almost must-win for us," Alfredsson said. "It's going to be a very important game for us, and if we win we get momentum right back."

The Devils and goaltender Martin Brodeur have been outstanding in winning the last two games. The Senators, who had the best regular-season record, have scored one goal since winning the series opener, 3-2, in overtime.

Hossa, Havlat and Alfredsson, who combined for 96 goals in the regular season and 12 in the playoffs, had 20 shots in the first two games against New Jersey. But most of the shots were from bad angles and the outside.

Hossa's best chance in Thursday night's 1-0 loss was a shot from the corner that hit off the leg of Devil defenseman Scott Stevens and went wide.

"We've had a few chances, but Brodeur was excellent," Hossa said. "We knew they play good defensively. We just have to find a way to break that and score."

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The Dallas Stars waived forward Pierre Turgeon after a season in which he scored a career-low 12 goals. Turgeon has three years left on his five-year contract, for a total remaining value of $20.5 million. The contract has a no-trade clause for next year.... Detroit Red Wing prospect Igor Grigorenko was injured in a single-car accident in his native Russia. Grigorenko, 20, is believed to have fractured his hip in the crash but the extent of the injury is unknown, General Manager Ken Holland said.

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