Goal in sight
Bourque and Sakic just two wins away from Lord Stanley
Updated: Friday June 01, 2001 12:38 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Ray Bourque told his teammates he would score the winning goal in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. Then, he made that prediction come true.
With the game tied 1-1 after two periods, the question of who would put Colorado on top was asked in the Avalanche locker room. The 40-year-old Bourque said he would be the one and he needed only 31 seconds of the third period to be right, even though it was just a stab in the dark.
"You make the call and hope you get lucky," Bourque said after the Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Thursday night. "What have you got to lose?"
There was nothing for the Avalanche to lose once Bourque became the oldest player to score a goal in the finals. The biggest win of his career came in a building where the Colorado franchise hadn't won since 1993 when the team was located in Quebec.
Now the Avalanche have a 2-1 series lead, and Bourque is only two wins away from the Stanley Cup title that's eluded him for the first 22 seasons of his career.
"I know we're two games away and we're one step closer but we've got a lot of work left," he said. "We've got to go out and go after them like we did tonight. If we do that, I think we're giving ourselves a chance."
When Bourque came to Colorado, he joined Joe Sakic in what he hoped would be a run to the cup and it was that combination which clicked to move within two wins of the goal. Bourque scored the go-ahead goal after Sakic won the puck back to him on a faceoff.
"If Ray wins, that means we all win," Sakic said.
Sakic won his first Cup with Colorado in 1996, and this could be the last chance the pair have together as both can be unrestricted free agents at season's end.
Bourque was traded to the Avalanche last year after 21 1/2 non-championship seasons with the Boston Bruins. Scattered throughout Continental Airlines Arena on Thursday were Bruins jerseys with Bourque's name on them.
He didn't disappoint the many fans rooting for him to finally have his name etched on the Stanley Cup.
"It's great support that I know I'm getting in Boston and Montreal and a lot of places," said Bourque, a Montreal native. "If it does happen, it's a great story."
Sakic won a draw in the opening minute of the third period, and Bourque corralled the puck. He glided farther into the New Jersey zone and let a hard drive go that beat Martin Brodeur under his left arm - eluding his glove.
Bourque turned to pump his fist, knowing he took a big step toward lowering the countdown number written on the board in the Avalanche dressing room to 2. He never led in either of his two other Stanley Cup finals series.
"It was a great draw," Bourque said. "I stepped to the middle. I don't know if Marty was screened."
Colorado coach Bob Hartley called it a "very simple play, but a big one."
"Ray picked the top corner," he said. "It's not the first time he's scored a goal in the playoffs.
"It can't happen to a better guy like Ray Bourque."