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Three by three

Third one-goal win has New Jersey up 3-0

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Posted: Monday May 08, 2000 07:48 PM

SUNRISE, Fla. ( -- Brian Rafalski had a goal and an assist and the Devils moved within one victory of advancing to the second round for the first time in three years with a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Me and My Shadow
Not only has Scott Stevens been shutting down Pavel Bure on defense, he's outshined him on offense, too. (Through three games)
  Bure  Stevens 
   Season  58* 
   Season  36  21 
   Season  25  30 
   Playoffs  -3 
   Season  361*  133 
*-led NHL
The lockdown on Pavel Bure continued as Martin Brodeur stopped 21 shots to improve to 7-0-3 in his last 10 against Florida. And after leading the league with 58 goals in the regular season, Bure remained without one after three games of this series.

"He is getting a lot of attention," Panthers coach Terry Murray said. "It is going to be difficult for him to get close to the net for any length of time."

Defenseman Scott Stevens has had a lot to do with that, holding Bure to one shot in Game 3 and eight in the series.

"This is where we wanted to be," Stevens said. "We don't want this to become a 3-1 series where they feel they have life. That's why Thursday is so important. The bottom line is we're not giving up a lot of scoring chances and I know that has frustrated them. It's what has put us in position to win this series."

The Panthers were outshot 31-7 through two periods, but goalie Mike Vernon kept the game tied 1-1.

Vernon made 38 saves despite allowing several rebounds. He made save after save, stopping a flurry of shots from point-blank range, but gave up two seemingly soft goals.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 9:19 of the first. Mike Sillinger sliced between two defenders, cut right at the crease and dropped the puck for Ray Whitney, who beat Brodeur to the left side of the net.

The Devils tied it in the second, scoring their first power-play goal of the postseason. New Jersey was scoreless in 11 man-advantage situations, including the first four on Tuesday.

But with Bure in the penalty box for elbowing, the Devils scored on Alexander Mogilny's slap shot from the right circle at 16:25.

Mogilny's shot deflected off Florida defenseman Bret Hedican's stick and slipped through the legs of Vernon. Rafalski and Stevens assisted on the play.

The Devils outshot Florida 19-1 in the second period, but Vernon -- fifth in career playoff wins with 77 -- kept the game tied.

At least until the third, when he allowed a 55-foot shot from Rafalski to slip into the net.

"It just hit my glove and just kind of rolls, kind of angles in on me," Vernon said. "It was kind of an unfortunate one and one I wish I could have back."

Only two NHL teams have come back from 3-0 deficits, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders. Nonetheless, the Panthers are optimistic they can still win the series.

"I've been around too long to get too comfortable with a three-game lead," defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "Three games gets you nothing. You don't win until you get the fourth one."

Related information
Devils-Panthers Game Summary
Brian Rafalski's goal in the third broke a 1-1 tie.
  • Start(1.08 M)
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