Devils' Mogilny finally finds the net
Updated: Tuesday June 05, 2001 12:26 AM
DENVER (AP) -- Alexander Mogilny found his regular season scoring touch just in time for the Stanley Cup champions.
Mogilny, who led the New Jersey Devils with 43 goals during the season, hadn't put a puck in the net in the last 14 playoff games.
He busted out Monday night with the go-ahead goal, and added an assist as the Devils beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Mogilny's offensive rebirth sent the Devils home to New Jersey with a two-game winning streak in the best-of-seven series and the chance to repeat as champions Thursday night.
"It's not a relief of scoring, just to win the game on the road," Mogilny said. "Nobody won back-to-back in this series yet. It was another huge game for us."
He had only four assists during his slump that started with a two-goal, three-assist performance in Game 2 of the second round against Toronto.
Mogilny's latest goal was the 24th of his playoff career.
"Me and Gomes [linemate Scott Gomez] have been talking the last couple of series about how we were taking a little bit of a pounding out there," Mogilny said. "We said, 'Just don't think about anything else. Just go out there and have fun.'
"The last two games have been nothing but positive."
Through two periods, Mogilny had three shots on goal. He got another early in the third period on a breakaway that Roy turned aside.
It was the eighth of 11 odd-man rushes the Devils generated -- three of which became goals.
"I felt I was getting a little better out there," said Mogilny, who showed signs of breaking out with five shots in Game 4.
Mogilny almost ended his scoring drought that night when another attempt rang off the crossbar and then the post, but stayed out.
"Nothing really changed much," he said. "I tried to get a shot in the net every chance I had."
New Jersey was struggling for offense in this series after running over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Devils looked to Mogilny to snap out of his funk, but he couldn't as New Jersey lost two of the first three games to Colorado while scoring only three times.
The right wing then sent a shot toward Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy during a second period power play. It didn't reach the net until Sergei Brylin deflected the puck in at 4:39.
With his offensive game back on track, Mogilny also made a key defensive play to protect the Devils' 2-1 lead. Adam Foote had a wide-open net early in the second period, but Mogilny knocked the puck off his stick.
"I saw the guy was wide open on the side of the net," Mogilny said. "I was like, 'Oh my God. I've got to make sure he doesn't put it in, otherwise I get my head cut off.'"
Mogilny is the latest New Jersey scorer to find his touch. Top-line forward Patrik Elias, the team's regular season points leader, scored his first goal of the series in Game 4.
He started the Devils off on Monday with his second in two games just 3:09 in after a beautiful feed from Petr Sykora.
Elias and Sykora skated without Arnott, the center of the A-Line who sat out because of a head injury caused by a puck striking his temple early in Game 4.
"I haven't played with both of the guys during the regular season for about two weeks and it gave me a lot of confidence that I can play with any of these guys," Elias said. "You don't want to have the guys going down like that, but when it happens it seems like we rise to the occasion."
Arnott said that his linemates, who played with Bobby Holik, would do fine in his absence, and he was right.
"Bobby is a big guy and he's playing very good these playoffs and doing a great job for us," Elias said.
Elias finished tied with Mogilny with a team-best four shots.