2001 Stanley Cup Finals

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NHL Hockey Scoreboard: Recap
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New Jersey 6, Toronto 5
Posted: Sunday April 29, 2001 01:21 AM
Toronto Maple Leafs
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New Jersey Devils
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Randy McKay helped the New Jersey Devils avoid a devastating loss.

After the Devils squandered a three-goal third-period lead, McKay scored 5:31 into overtime for a wild 6-5 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs that squared their Eastern Conference semifinal series at one win apiece.

New Jersey finally solved goaltender Curtis Joseph but had no answer for Mats Sundin, who collected two goals and two assists. Former Devil Steve Thomas scored his second goal of the game with 23 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.

All of the momentum was with Toronto, which had won its previous seven playoff overtime games and was facing a team that had lost eight of its previous nine.

"(Coach) Larry (Robinson) didn't get mad at all," McKay said. "He just told us to settle down and stop running around."

The Devils heeded their coach's advice, had all three shots in the extra period and came away with the much-needed win. After Aki Berg's shot from the right point was blocked, New Jersey's Sergei Brylin carried down the left side and pulled up inside the Maple Leafs' blue line.

Brylin worked the puck to Bobby Holik, who shifted to his backhand while moving through the faceoff circle and slid a cross-ice pass to McKay. He steered the puck over Joseph's left pad for his fourth playoff goal.

"Bobby pulled it back and I went to the net, and all I had to was redirect it in," McKay said.

"I thought Holik might shoot it, so I cheated a little bit," said Joseph. "I was able to get back and get a pad on it. In a situation like that, you have to make a quick decision. If I tried to poke the pass away and missed it, I would have left a wide-open net."

Toronto's overtime winning streak was one of many that ended on Saturday night. The Maple Leafs had won their first five playoff games and had killed 28 straight power plays in the postseason before Alexander Mogilny scored 67 seconds into the third period.

Joseph's overall shutout streak ended at 140 minutes, 28 seconds and his postseason road shutout streak reached 252:10 before Scott Gomez got New Jersey's first goal of the series at 2:58 of the second period.

"It was a combination of things," said Joseph, who stopped 32 shots in the opener. "They played extremely well and were passing the puck crisply. We also had some defensive lapses and when you do that, they'll pick you apart."

Mogilny helped the Devils build a 5-2 lead by picking up two goals and three assists.

"I don't really care how many points I get as long as we win the game, and that's the bottom line," he said.

Mogilny's second goal was New Jersey's third in 37 postseason power-play chances and opened a 5-2 cushion with just under 19 minutes left in regulation.

Thomas, who also scored in Game One, started Toronto's comeback at 5:59 and set up Sundin's goal with 10:27 left that sliced the deficit to 5-4. After the Maple Leafs pulled Joseph for an extra attacker in the final minute, Thomas silenced the sellout crowd at Continental Airlines Arena when he gloved down a deflection at the edge of the slot and put a wrist shot over defenseman Scott Stevens, who slid to block it, and Martin Brodeur's left shoulder.

It was the first time in 85 playoff games since 1994 that New Jersey allowed as many as five goals.

"It scared the hell out of everybody," admitted Brodeur. "I hope it's something that we can learn from. It is embarrassing in the playoffs to have a lead like we did and not put a team away. For the most part, we had a good game, but the third period was hard on everybody. We feel like we dodged a bullet."

Toronto defenseman Danny Markov scored the only goal of the first period at 8:30, sneaking in from the point, taking a pass from Gary Roberts at the edge of the left circle and sliding a one-timer under Brodeur's glove.

Gomez, defenseman Brian Rafalski and Mogilny struck in a 6:29 span of the second period to shatter Joseph's invincibility. John Madden capped New Jersey's four-goal period at 15:04.

"We can't have the second period like the one we had tonight," Sundin said. "We need to cover up some our defensive lapses."

The Devils got a four-minute power play after Cory Cross got a double-minor in the final minute of the second period, but Sundin beat Brodeur with a backhander 29 seconds into the third.

Mogilny answered 38 seconds later off a feed from Gomez, who had a goal and two assists.

"It's a good thing that we scored six goals and it's also nice we finally got one on the power play," McKay said. "We made some mistakes defensively, but those kinds of things we can work on. To get six goals is really good for our confidence."

Game Three is Tuesday night at Toronto.


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