Devils kick away chance to win Cup at home
Updated: Friday June 08, 2001 1:57 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Instead of kicking the puck, the New Jersey Devils should be kicking themselves.
Coach Larry Robinson had no problem doing just that after the Devils squandered three first-period power plays and six overall on Thursday night in blowing a chance to nail down their second straight Stanley Cup.
"We didn't compete in Game 6," Robinson said after New Jersey dropped a 4-0 decision to Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche. "We got outworked and outhustled in every part of the game. When a game is over and you can't pick a player who played well in a huge game like this, it's disappointing."
The wasted opportunity forced a deciding Game 7 on Saturday night in Denver, where one bad bounce may well determine whether the Devils establish a dynasty or the Avs' Ray Bourque gets a chance to sip from the cup.
"Hey's it's one game, winner take all," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "It's nothing to worry about now as far as tonight. We have to go it and get ready for seven."
It should never have come to that.
The Devils, who dominated Games 4 and 5 in taking a 3-2 lead in the series, were given a golden opportunity to take control of Game 6 when Dave Reid, Adam Foote and Martin Skoula of Colorado were called for penalties in the opening 11:08.
The Devils got nine shots on the three power plays, only to be stopped at every opportunity by Roy.
"It was a missed opportunity, definitely everybody feels sorry about," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said.
"We had so many opportunities to go up a goal and we didn't," Devils center Bobby Holik added. "I don't know. I would have to look back at it. But we just didn't have enough good shots, good opportunities. We had a couple early, but we played on the perimeter after that."
The only puck that got past Roy came at 6:59 as Scott Gomez came out of the right corner and seemed to power a shot past the big goaltender.
While the Devils bench jumped for joy, Roy seemed to know something they didn't, and so did referees Dan Marouelli and Bill McCreary.
They had the play reviewed and the replay showed Gomez kicked the puck past Roy. It was disallowed.
"I just tried to kick the puck to my shaft and it kept going," Gomez said.
The Devils never got another chance to cheer.
The play that seemed to take the air out of the Devils was Foote's third goal of the playoffs. Until that point, New Jersey had outshot Colorado 12-3.
However, Gomez flipped the puck carelessly into the neutral zone and Foote collected it, skated into the Devils' zone and beat Brodeur with a slapshot to the glove side.
Devils second-year defenseman Colin White had a hand -- well leg -- in the Avs' two second-period goals.
Nieminen's deflection on a power play at 2:26 of the second period hit off White and went past Brodeur, stretching the lead to 2-0 with Holik off for roughing.
Drury made another great one-on-one move in the Devils' zone at 18:27 of the second period and his shot went off White's shin pad and into the net.
This marked the second straight year the Devils have been shut out at home going for a cup clincher. They were beaten 1-0 by Dallas in triple overtime in Game 5 last year. They won the cup two nights later.
They have to hope history repeats itself.
"We have one more game left and we are looking forward to it,"
Devils captain Scott Stevens said. "We love playing on the road.
We've played well on the road. We've done it the hard way all
playoffs and we're going to do it the hard way again."