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STANLEY CUP FINALS * NEW JERSEY VS. MIGHTY DUCKS

Game 1 Report

May 28, 2003|Lonnie White

FIRST PERIOD

MIGHTY DUCKS 0, DEVILS 0

*--* Shots Penalty minutes Faceoffs won Power Play DUCKS 4 2 11 0-2 DEVILS 6 4 9 0-1

*--*

Highlight reel: Don't expect many spectacular offensive plays in a series featuring goaltenders Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Martin Brodeur. Both netminders stepped up to snuff out quality scoring chances for each team less than five minutes into the period. Petr Sykora hit the right post after Brodeur moved out to challenge his shot, then Sergei Brylin was stopped by Giguere.

Key moment: With 10:43 left in the period, the Ducks had the game's first power play, thanks to a charging penalty on New Jersey's Jim McKenzie for a hit delivered on center Jason Krog. But the Ducks failed to generate any real dangerous scoring opportunities against Brodeur. The Ducks opened the power play with Paul Kariya playing the point, but they had trouble getting set up because of the Devils' defensive pressure on the puck. When the Ducks did get the puck on net, they failed to create traffic in front of Brodeur.

Not in the summary: The 10-day layoff before starting the Stanley Cup finals certainly played a part in the Ducks' sluggishness. The timing between Giguere and the Duck blue-liners was a little off and it showed whenever a save was made. Throughout the playoffs, Giguere always seemed in sync with his defensemen. Whenever he left a rebound in front, a teammate was usually ready to clear the puck away. But the Devils had a number of rebound opportunities.

*

SECOND PERIOD

DEVILS 1, MIGHTY DUCKS 0

*--* Shots Penalty minutes Faceoffs won Power Play DUCKS 4 0 12 0-0 DEVILS 15 0 8 0-0

*--*

Highlight reel: After making several attempts to score between Giguere's legs in the first period, the Devils tried a different approach and Jeff Friesen pulled it off to perfection when he caught the Duck goalie slightly out of position to break a scoreless tie 1:25 into the period. Brylin made the play by picking up a loose puck and skating deep into the left corner before finding Friesen open in the middle of the left circle. Friesen did the rest by hesitating for a count and then shooting the puck behind a sliding Sandis Ozolinish and above Giguere's right shoulder and stick.

Key moment: After Friesen's goal, the Devils controlled the flow, but the Ducks didn't fall apart because of Giguere's play in goal. One New Jersey threat after another was stopped by Giguere, who made sure that he kept his team close by making initial saves on New Jersey shooters. Over the last seven minutes of the period, the Devils found themselves with several great scoring chances in transition only to have Giguere make the save. Patrik Elias, Grant Marshall and Brylin each had good looks only to be turned away, which is the same thing Giguere did when he kept the Ducks close before pulling out key playoff victories over Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota.

Not in the summary: The high number of odd-man rushes the Devils enjoyed because of sloppy defensive play by the Ducks, who did more watching than skating in the period.

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THIRD PERIOD

DEVILS 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 0

*--* Shots Penalty minutes Faceoffs won Power Play DUCKS 8 0 10 0-0 DEVILS 9 0 9 0-0

*--*

Highlight reel: With the Ducks trailing, 2-0, Brodeur was left in a vulnerable position when he found himself falling backward next to the left post. But with defenseman Colin White in his face, Adam Oates could not get off a strong shot and Brodeur calmly knocked the puck down with his glove and secured it close to his body.

Key moment: Although the Ducks were playing one of their worst games of the postseason, they still had a chance to tie the score early in the period. But that vision quickly ended when the Devils took advantage of the Ducks' scrambling defense to score the second goal of the game. New Jersey got things going by winning a faceoff in the Duck zone and then having a blue-line shot by Scott Niedermayer fly wide of the net. By the time the Duck defensemen had picked up where the puck had gone, the Devils' Scott Gomez had passed to Elias buzzing around the Duck net. Giguere was able to stop Elias' attempt from the right wing, but he was left helpless when Elias gathered in his own rebound and passed to a wide-open Marshall, who scored easily from the slot with Giguere out of the net.

Not in the summary: The Devils do not have a lineup filled with offensive all-stars, but they do have a roster loaded with hard-working players who know their roles. No one does this better than forward John Madden, who is much more than a defensive specialist.

-- Lonnie White

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