DENVER (Ticker) -- With the New Jersey Devils' top scoring unit reduced to an "A-minus," Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Brylin ended prolonged goalless droughts to put the defending Stanley Cup champions within one win of a second straight title.
Mogilny scored the go-ahead goal late in the first period and set up Brylin's power-play tally early in the second as the Devils topped the Colorado Avalanche, 4-1, to grab a three games to two lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
With No. 1 center Jason Arnott sidelined due to dizziness, New Jersey coach Larry Robinson used almost as many line combinations as his team had odd-man scoring chances.
Robinson also unexpectedly replaced defenseman Sean O'Donnell with Ken Sutton, who had not played since the first game of the conference finals.
Everything worked for the Devils, who are the first team to record consecutive wins in the series and need one more victory to become the fifth franchise in the post-expansion era to capture back-to-back Stanley Cups.
"There's no doubt when you have a player of that magnitude out, you hope as a coach that everybody else elevates their game to make up for the loss of a great player," Robinson said, referring to Arnott. "Sometimes when things happen like that, it brings out the best in other players because they are given opportunities that they may not get otherwise."
New Jersey continued its remarkable playoff success on the road, improving to 18-5 in the past 23 games and 7-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Devils host Game Six on Thursday night. Game Seven, if necessary, will be Saturday night in Denver.
"We're confident going back home," New Jersey left wing Patrik Elias said. "We've played a couple of good games. But we haven't won anything yet."
"I think it is time to regroup and be positive and find solutions," Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy said. "Like we mentioned at the beginning of the series, we are going there and we will try to bring them back with us."
Known almost strictly for his offense, Mogilny made a key defensive play early in the second period, getting his stick on Ville Nieminen's centering attempt with Colorado defenseman Adam Foote poised in front of a half-open net.
"A couple of guys left the zone, I guess, and I ended up being caught down deep," Mogilny said. "I saw the guy wide-open at the side of the net. It was like, 'Oh, my God, I have to make sure he doesn't put it in otherwise I get my head cut off.' I just anticipated the pass across and got my stick on it."
Just over three minutes later, Mogilny helped pad a 2-1 lead on the Devils' only power play of the game. Defenseman Rob Blake was penalized for interference at 3:53 and New Jersey needed 46 seconds to match its power-play production for the first four games of the series.
Mogilny took a wrist shot from above the right faceoff circle that Brylin deflected down and inside the right goalpost at 4:39, ending an 11-game scoring drought.
"We talk about switching sides a little bit, so I was trying to dump the puck behind the net and Scotty Niedermayer poked it back to Alex and he shouted," Brylin said. "I just tipped the puck in the air and it went in."
Four of Brylin's 10 career postseason goals have come in the Stanley Cup Finals. This one put Colorado in a two-goal deficit for the first time in this year's playoffs.
Brodeur made sure the Devils took that cushion into the locker room. He caught Joe Sakic's wrister from the top of the right circle in the midsection and squeezed his pads to stop Alex Tanguay's shot from the edge of the left circle.
With just under a minute to go in the period, Brodeur slid to his right and made a right arm stop after Eric Messier darted down the slot and deflected Dan Hinote's cross-ice pass.
"I think it was a timely save," Brodeur said. "I tried to contribute somehow. We had a little breakdown there and I was able to make the save, was able to keep the puck long enough for the referee to (blow) the whistle."
In the third, Brodeur got his right pad on Hinote's slapper from the right circle and gobbled up the rebound while on the seats of his pants off a scramble with 12:42 remaining. He also made a right shoulder save after Blake got by Niedermayer with 8:22 to go.
And Brodeur helped kill a late penalty on McKenzie before Madden beat Roy on a partial breakaway with 1:55 left.
"It was the best game he played," Elias said of his goalie. "He gives us the confidence so in the third period we weren't afraid to go offense and make some mistakes because we knew he was going to make some saves for us."
"He definitely was very, very focused tonight," Robinson added. "Every shot, he was really square to the puck and was smothering his rebounds and handled the puck well. It's the kind of goaltending that we have become accustomed to with Marty."
The Devils scored early and late in the first period.
Colorado yielded three odd-man rushes in the opening six minutes and New Jersey cashed in on the second. Sykora broke down the right side and flipped the puck across the slot to Elias, who settled the pass and put a wrist shot past a diving Roy at 3:09.
It was Elias' ninth playoff goal and second in as many games.
Earlier, Roy stopped Madden on a 2-on-1, and with 14:40 left, Niedermayer whipped a shot wide of the right post off a 3-on-2.
"We gave up maybe six outmanned situations, 2-on-1s or breakaways, and I think we turned the puck over way too much tonight," Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque said. "They did a good job neutralizing to do that, but we've got to do a better job in executing. There were way too many outmanned situations. Especially a team like Jersey, they will capitalize on those things."
Brodeur protected the lead momentarily with a sprawling glove stop on Dave Reid's point-blank backhander, but the Avalanche went on the power play at 8:56 after Bobby Holik took down Sakic in the slot and was penalized for tripping.
Bourque's diving pokecheck broke up a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush and started Colorado on an odd-man counterattack. Scoreless in his previous 12 games, Tanguay got behind the defense and ripped a blast from the left circle that beat Brodeur to the glove side and found room inside the far post.
New Jersey continued to dominate at even strength and regained the lead with 1:13 to go in the period on Mogilny's first goal in 15 games since April 28.
Brian Rafalski, who also set up Elias' tally, pushed the puck between Greg de Vries' legs, trapping the Avalanche defenseman at the Devils' blue line and sending New Jersey in on another odd-man break.
Gomez carried into the Colorado zone and dropped the puck to Mogilny, whose wrister from the right circle beat Roy to the stick side.
"Scoring is not a relief. Just to win a game on the road is (the big thing)," Mogilny said. "Nobody had won back-to-back yet, so it was a huge game for us. We had to win one on the road, it might as well be tonight."
The period ended with the Avalanche back on the power play after the Devils were caught with too many men on the ice at 19:24. However, it marked just the second time in 21 playoff games that Colorado trailed after the opening 20 minutes.