2001 Stanley Cup Finals

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On the road again

Devils hope for a final bounce-back game in Colorado

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Posted: Friday June 08, 2001 2:21 AM
Updated: Friday June 08, 2001 2:29 AM
  Martin Brodeur Martin Brodeur posted a disappointing 14 saves on 18 shots. AP

By Jamie MacDonald, CNNSI.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- At 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, in the bowels of Continental Airlines Arena, parked near a not-yet-idling Zamboni, was a 15-foot moving truck. Into its cargo area, bags with Avalanche logos were being loaded by men with the "A" crests on their sleeves. They also wore smiles.

Presumably the same process was taking place with Devils bags by men wearing Devils crests. We assume there were few smiles. Much the same could be said for the New Jersey dressing room after Game 6.

Like moths that remember where to find the bright lights, media members scurried to the areas of the room they know best: the stalls of Bobby Holik and Ken Daneyko. Both have been warhorses during New Jersey's past two playoff seasons and both have left their marks as willing and insightful team spokesmen.

Still bathed in sweat, two of the three cuts across his face now scab-free, Daneyko sat with his feet surrounded by the equipment he had peeled off only minutes ago. Occasionally he'd rub his forehead above the one remaining bloody wound across the bridge of his nose.

"It is just two teams going at it, back and forth," he said. "It's tough to win three games in a row against a team like that, but we obviously played well in Colorado. We have played our best hockey of the series there."

Holik, who stands for his post-game remarks, towered above nearly everyone in the room. (This is especially important since, if one wants to speak to Daneyko while the horseshoe of humanity grows eight deep around Holik, he or she is helped by the trajectory of his voice.)

"If someone said, 'You have one game to win for the Cup,' we said, 'We'll take it.' That's where we are and we're going to go to Denver and try to win a game."

Two of the most talked-about topics postgame were the team's inability to convert on the power play and, obviously, Game 7.

"We had some really good chances in the first and early in the second periods," said Brian Rafalski, referring to the power play. "They seemed to collapse really well once the rebounds were there and we couldn't get those second and third shots."

Away from the dressing room, coach Larry Robinson, as is his wont, called it like he saw it. "We play some of our best hockey after we've been humiliated and basically [Thursday night] they kicked our butts and rubbed our faces in it."

So the whole circus act up and moves out West. Again.

"We're a lot more confident on the road," said John Madden, who had changed into his black pin-striped suit. "I think we just play better. I think our mind is more focused."

Madden spoke almost the same words from almost the same location in the dressing room after Game 4, only to suffocate Colorado in their building throughout Game 5. The Devils can only hope for a similar bounce-back effort in Game 7.

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CNNSI.com's Darren Eliot: Everything went the Avs' way in Game 6
SI's Kostya Kennedy: A plea for Peter the Great
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