On the road again
Avs hope for away success against Stars in Game 7
Posted: Wednesday June 02, 1999 10:11 PM
DENVER (AP) -- After a restless night that followed several missed shots and one big missed opportunity, the Colorado Avalanche awoke Wednesday with a fresh perspective. Hey, it could be worse.
Colorado followed its playoff-long trend of playing poorly at home and failed to eliminate Dallas in six games Tuesday night. The Stars won 4-1 to send the Western Conference finals back to Texas for Game 7 Friday night.
"I'm sure everybody was rolling in bed saying, 'Oh, we could have finished them,"' Colorado forward Claude Lemieux said Wednesday. "But we could have lost Game 5 and won Game 6 and be real happy to be part of Game 7. It's the other way around. I'm real happy to be there, too, because we're one game away from going to the Stanley Cup finals."
Having lost six times in nine postseason home games, Colorado is heading into its comfort zone by changing time zones. The Avalanche are 8-1 on the road and have won two of three games in Dallas.
The NHL record for playoff road victories is 10 by the 1995 New Jersey Devils, the team Lemieux helped to the Stanley Cup title. Coincidentally, Colorado also won eight road games en route to the championship in 1996.
"Obviously for our club, I think the guys would much rather play in Dallas than play at home," Lemieux said. "That's easy to say because regardless of if we would rather play at home, we're going on the road. But no one's going to complain about going to Dallas."
Lemieux has been part of a Game 7 seven times in a 13-year career with Colorado, New Jersey and Montreal. His teams are 3-4 in such games, the most recent being the Avalanche's 4-0 loss at home to Edmonton last year.
Not since 1985 has Colorado prevailed in a seven-game series.
"We have to just open up the book we started writing since training camp," rookie coach Bob Hartley said. "We've jumped many hurdles and we tripped on a couple of occasions. Every time we went down, we found ways to get back up."
Although the series has been unpredictable at every turn, Hartley and Lemieux agreed that goaltending likely will determine who survives to play the Buffalo Sabres in the finals.
"We can definitely count on Patrick," Hartley said. "Patrick is feeding off those kinds of feelings. He is going to be ready to go."
Roy has won an NHL-record 110 playoff games and is 3-3 in Game 7s. Belfour has 56 postseason victories and said he always won Game 7 in his dreams as a kid.
Lemieux can do him one better.
"I dream of games like that, too, but I've played them and I've won," Lemieux said. "That dream came true for me. Hopefully it will come true again. It's a lot of satisfaction."
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