DENVER -- After shutting down Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, the New Jersey Devils had no answer for Joe Sakic. And Patrick Roy had all the answers for the Colorado Avalanche in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Sakic scored his league-leading 10th and 11th playoff goals and set up another and Roy extended an NHL record with his 18th career postseason shutout as the Avalanche handed the Devils their worst loss of the season, 5-0.
Defending champion New Jersey held Lemieux and Jagr without a goal in a five-game victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals. But the Devils could not contain the other Hart Trophy finalist as Sakic literally brought 2000 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Scott Stevens to his hands and knees.
With the Avalanche ahead, 2-0, late in the second period, Sakic tracked down a dump-in along the outside edge of the right faceoff circle. As he moved toward the slot, Stevens went down to block a potential shot. But Sakic held the puck as the veteran defenseman crawled to follow him, then snapped a wrist shot by goaltender Martin Brodeur, who was tied up by teammate Petr Sykora.
Sakic helped pad the lead early in the third period, getting the secondary assist on defenseman Rob Blake's power-play goal.
Alex Tanguay did most of the work, accelerating behind the net and finding a wide-open Blake, who capped a three-point night by putting a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot between Brodeur's pads with 14:24 remaining.
"Joe was simply Joe," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "Once again, he gave us a great game, gave us some big goals. For us, it is pretty normal to see performances like tonight. Joe Sakic has been carrying this hockey club from game one of this season and tonight was no different."
Rookie Steven Reinprecht capped the scoring with 2:24 left on a goal that was credited after a video review showed the puck trickled past Brodeur and over the goal line.
Roy extended his Stanley Cup Finals winning streak to nine games with 25 saves, recording his third shutout of this year's playoffs. He helped stymie the Devils' "A" line of Sykora, Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias, which had produced 16 goals and 18 assists in the previous eight games.
"Tonight's game was about what we didn't do -- we didn't pay the price, we didn't work hard enough," said Sykora, who had a nine-game points streak snapped. "If you want to score goals in the playoffs, you really have to get yourself in it. You have to go and get that hit, you have to go through the middle and drive to the net."
Roy also stretched his Stanley Cup Finals shutout streak to 213 minutes, 12 seconds, 16 minutes shy of Clint Benedict's record. He has not allowed a goal in the Finals since Rob Niedermayer of the Florida Panthers beat him in Game Three of the 1996 series.
New Jersey was scoreless in six power-play chances and suffered its worst playoff loss since a 7-0 thrashing against Pittsburgh in Game Two of the 1993 Patrick Division semifinals.
"Sometimes it's easier to handle than a tough loss," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "It was a stinker. We played real bad, they played real well, bottom line."
"We can have a list this long with excuses, but the bottom line is we didn't play hard enough. We got outplayed in all departments," center Bobby Holik added. "The only thing we can do is put this behind us and move on. ... Tonight we looked like those guys with the shovels picking up the snow during the commercial breaks."
The news got worse for the Devils, who learned that right wing Randy McKay suffered a broken left hand in a collision with 40-year-old defenseman Ray Bourque early in the first period.
It was all positive for Colorado, which has trailed for all of 52 seconds in its last eight contests and recorded its most lopsided postseason win since a 6-0 whitewash of Detroit in Game Five of the 1997 Western Conference finals.
"It is only one win, but it is a good win for us. Our players feel real good," Hartley said. "They gave us a great game. Everyone in the lineup really stepped up. I think they were a great skating hockey club, and when we move our feet like we did tonight, I think we have a chance to win."
The Avalanche host Game Two on Tuesday night.
The Devils overcame a sluggish start and were carrying the play early in the second period.
A solid shift by Holik, Sergei Brylin and John Madden -- McKay's replacement -- produced a boarding penalty on defenseman Greg de Vries at 7:01. New Jersey nearly broke through when Roy misplayed the puck behind the net, but Elias' centering pass was intercepted in the slot by defenseman Adam Foote.
Just 34 seconds after de Vries' penalty expired, Dan Hinote threw a pass out of the left corner and Chris Drury deflected the puck between Brodeur's pads for his ninth playoff goal.
"It was a great (play) by Jon Klemm, working hard, chips it down," Drury said. "(Dan) makes a great pass to me, I'm just throwing it into the net there."
It marked the first time in three Stanley Cup Finals appearances that the Devils trailed by more than a goal.
Tanguay took a tripping penalty 10:46 into the second period and Roy came up with back-to-back stops on New Jersey's third power play, getting his right shoulder on Holik's blast from the left faceoff dot.
An apparent Colorado power play was negated when rookie Ville Nieminen was penalized for interfering with Brodeur, moments after Daneyko rammed Hinote into the end boards.
But Sakic struck again while both teams were down a man to put the defending champions in a three-goal hole for the first time in this year's playoffs.
The Devils looked stale for much of the first period, going 12 1/2 minutes without a shot while Colorado collected 14, the most allowed by New Jersey in the postseason.
McKay went down with just over 16 minutes remaining and left in obvious pain. The diagnosis was announced in the third period.
"I just jumped out of the way and he jammed my hand up," McKay said. "He caught a piece of me. I tried to avoid the hit and he just got my hand and jammed it up."
"The puck was coming to him and I kind of stood him up and just caught part of him, and I think I must have caught his wrist or something," Bourque said. "But I didn't catch him all; I think I just kind of jammed him."
Sakic opened the scoring at 11:07. Blake passed up the right side to Milan Hejduk, who curled outside the New Jersey blue line and answered Sakic's call for the puck by hitting the Avalanche's long-time captain just inside the Devils' zone.
Sakic raced past 37-year-old Sergei Nemchinov and leaned into a wrist shot above the right faceoff dot that found space between Brodeur's pads.
"I just went down the side and (Hejduk) made a perfect play," Sakic said. "I just skated into it. I didn't mean to go five-hole, but it ended up going five-hole."
The "A" line generated New Jersey's first sustained attack with 8 1/2 minutes left, but the Devils went another 3 1/2 minutes before getting another shot.
After failing to take advantage of an elbowing penalty on Shjon Podein, New Jersey had its best chance when Madden burst up the middle on a 3-on-1 and forced Roy to make a right pad save with just over three minutes to go in the period.
"I thought the guys played a super first period," Roy said. "I just wanted to make sure that we could come back at 1-0 after the first. I mentioned to Ray in the dressing after the game, I thought that was my key save of the game. My best save, most important save was on that play."
The Devils appeared to settle in as the period wound down, limiting Colorado to one shot over the final 5:48.
"It was a good opportunity where we didn't make them pay. It was only one opportunity," Madden said of his chance. "We need to create more off their offensive aggressiveness."