Work in Sports
Devils head back home all tied with Toronto
Posted: Sunday April 30, 2000 03:58 AM
TORONTO (AP) -- The longer the game progressed, the more Martin Brodeur knew he had to be perfect.
Brodeur was just that, stopping all 20 shots he faced, as the New Jersey Devils evened their Eastern Conference semifinals series with a 1-0 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
"As the game went on, you're kind of saying, 'Hey, you need a shutout to win this game,' because the fact is we scored only one goal," Brodeur said. "Lucky enough, guys really bared down. We didn't take too many chances in the third and that made a big difference for us."
Tied 1-1, the best-of-seven series is boiling down to a goaltending battle between Brodeur and Toronto's Curtis Joseph, who starred in Thursday's 2-1 victory.
The series switches to New Jersey for games 3 and 4, Monday and Wednesday.
On Saturday, Joseph stopped every shot he saw, but was helplessly screened when Colin White scored the lone goal at 6:41 of the first period.
Otherwise, Joseph was remarkable as he stopped 32 shots for the second straight game.
Leafs coach Pat Quinn was at a loss for words when talking about Joseph's performance.
"You can probably describe it a lot better having gone through many years of school," Quinn said. "He gave us a chance and we weren't able to do anything."
He also couldn't explain the ineptitude of the Maple Leafs' offense.
"We've got to be better in front of them. We only had one line playing today. ... It's not good enough right now," said Quinn, who admitted that the Devils were the better team in both games.
White, with his first career playoff goal, scored when his rising point shot found the far right upper corner. Joseph had no chance as his view was blocked was by his own defenseman Danny Markov, who was chasing a New Jersey forward through the crease.
White said he wasn't trying to do anything fancy with his shot, just trying to hit the net.
"That was the game, both goaltenders. That's all I can say," White said. "We both battled hard and we were fortunate enough to come out with the win."
The Leafs only managed five shots on Brodeur in the final period.
Toronto's best scoring chance came four minutes in when Wendel Clark broke in alone only to shoot the puck into Brodeur's chest.
The Maple Leafs also squandered a four-minute power-play in the third after Jason Arnott drew a double-minor for high-sticking. The Leafs failed to get a shot on net and have managed just two goals on 32 power-play chances in the playoffs.
The Devils penalty killers have allowed only one goal in 23 short-handed situations this postseason. Brodeur recorded his seventh career playoff shutout and first this year.
The loss ended Toronto's three-game playoff winning streak, and was the first Leafs loss in five postseason home games.
The Maple Leafs continue to have trouble starting sharply as they have yet to score a first-period goal in their eight playoff games.
The Devils ended a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) against the Maple Leafs, going back to the 1998-99 regular season.
"Another one-goal game, we've got to find a way to beat the trap," Joseph said.
Added Leafs defenseman Cory Cross: "It's going to be a long series. It wasn't going to be a sweep."
The emotional point of the night came early in the first when injured Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan Berard, wearing sunglasses over his damaged right eye, received a minute-long standing ovation.
Sitting in a private booth at the game, Berard was shown on the center-ice video screen, and waved three times to acknowledge the cheering crowd at Air Canada Centre.
It was Berard's first time at a game since being clipped in the right eye March 11 by the stick blade of Ottawa forward Marian Hossa.
Said Leafs' captain Mats Sundin: "It was nice to see him and see that he's improving and in good spirits."