Work in Sports
DENVER (Ticker) -- No one has more NHL playoff wins than Patrick Roy. Now, no one has more postseason shutouts.
Roy backstopped a thoroughly dominant effort by the Colorado Avalanche, who grabbed a two games to one lead in the Western Conference finals with a 2-0 blanking of the Dallas Stars.
Roy tied Clint Benedict's all-time record with his 15th career playoff shutout, preserving the home-ice advantage he helped steal with a 2-0 whitewash in Game One. Afterwards, he downplayed his rivalry with Stars goaltender Ed Belfour.
"I don't try to motivate myself with that," Roy said. "I have my objectives. Like I said before, I'd like to see Dave (Andreychuk) and Ray (Bourque) get a Stanley Cup with us. That's my objective."
The Avalanche had 40-21 edge in shots, including a 20-4 advantage in the second period. They held superstars Mike Modano, Brett Hull and Joe Nieuwendyk to three shots, none over the first 45 1/2 minutes.
Colorado drew 10 power plays, converting one, compared to only three by the defending Stanley Cup champions.
"We can't be happy with the way we played. It was so many different things," said Dallas left wing Kirk Muller. "We were off-key and we were always fighting in our own end. Even when you kill them all, you lose a guy and the others have to cover. Give them credit, they changed some things that we will have to review."
Rookie defenseman Martin Skoula set up both goals for his first two career playoff points. The Avalanche also got a boost from the return of Bourque, a five-time Norris Trophy winner who missed four games with a knee injury. They host Game Four on Sunday afternoon.
"I really felt confident going into tonight, that things were going to go well," Bourque said. "In conditioning, I did what I needed to do off the ice, but game conditions are somewhat different. You get caught out there after a long shift. It's a little tough to get your wind back."
Colorado got off to a quick start, grabbing the lead on Shjon Podein's goal 99 seconds into the first period. His slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle missed the net, but Chris Drury retrieved the puck and threw it in front to Podein, who chipped it over Belfour's blocker and tied a career high with his fifth playoff goal.
"It was just a great play by Chris," said Podein, who took rookie Alex Tanguay's spot on the third line. "I just decided to take a whack at it and it found its way in somehow. (Drury) just made a great play. He's a great player, he does things like that."
The Stars had their chances early but failed to convert a pair of power plays in the opening eight minutes. They are 1-for-12 with the extra man in this series.
"I think for us, the key was killing those penalties right off the bat," Roy said. "They had what, two power-plays? Our penalty-killing played a big role. Guys like Dave Reid and Shjon Podein and Stephane (Yelle), all the guys who play on the penalty-killing were extremely sharp."
Belfour almost singlehandedly kept Dallas in the game. He came up with stellar saves on Andreychuk and Drury at the end of a four-minute power play after Modano was penalized for high-sticking with 6:43 left in the first.
Early in the second, Belfour smothered Adam Deadmarsh's wrist shot from the top of the slot. Midway through the period, Joe Sakic's stuff attempt was stopped by Belfour and Andreychuk shot the rebound over the net. Podein's wraparound try was rebuffed by Belfour's stick less than a minute later, but the Avalanche finally got an insurance goal with 5:10 to go in the second.
Defenseman Sergei Zubov took an interference penalty at 13:30 and Colorado needed 80 seconds to net its league-leading 15th power-play goal of the playoffs. Sakic won a faceoff and sent the puck back to Skoula. His wrister from above the left circle was deflected by Deadmarsh, who ended an eight-game goal-scoring drought with his fourth of the postseason.
By then, the Avalanche were outshooting Dallas, 26-10.
"I thought we played well 5-on-5. But most of the game, we were 5-on-4," said Stars right wing Mike Keane. "We wasted a lot of energy killing penalties. It's something where we have to get smarter. We still were in the game, but Matty (Richard Matvichuk) and (Derian) Hatcher were on the ice too much."
Hull finally tested Roy with 14:16 left in the third period, but Roy won the battle of future Hall of Famers and held on down the stretch for his third shutout of this year's playoffs.
"The guys were sharp. They were very focused and played very well defensively," Roy said. "Tonight, we had a lot of good chances and could have had more goals than that, but I thought Belfour made some great saves and kept them in the game."