Salei nets winner for Ducks in overtime

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The goal that gave Anaheim hope came on a

shot Martin Brodeur never lets in.

The goal that got them back into

the Stanley Cup finals came on a shot Ruslan Salei never puts in.

Paul Kariya, left, and the Mighty Ducks are 6-0 in overtime during these playoffs.
Paul Kariya, left, and the Mighty Ducks are 6-0 in overtime during these playoffs.

Salei scored off Adam Oates' faceoff win at 6:59 into overtime

and the Mighty Ducks, taking advantage of one of the biggest

misplays of Brodeur's career, beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in

Game 3 on Saturday night.

Oates fed the puck off the faceoff to Salei at the top of the

slot, and Brodeur barely reacted to his one-timer as the Mighty

Ducks stayed perfect -- 6-0 -- in playoff overtimes. The Devils are


It was essentially a must-win game for the Ducks, who played

with the desperation expected of a team that trailed 2-0 in the

series and almost certainly would have had no chance to raise the

cup had it lost.

Ducks coach Mike Babcock joked that Salei is one of his hardest

shooters, if not the most accurate. The goal was only Salei's

second of the playoffs.

"He can really shoot the puck. We always tell him shoot the

puck on net once in a while," Babcock said. "He bangs the puck

off the glass with the best of them."

Salei said the faceoff win was so clean, "You've got to shoot.

So far, it's the biggest goal I've ever scored. We had to win this

game. We had to get some momentum going. Now maybe it will go seven

games, or six."

Game 4 is Monday night, when the Devils can either take a

commanding 3-1 lead or the Mighty Ducks will tie a series they

seemed out of following two dominating Devils wins in New Jersey.

Overtime playoff wins have largely been responsible for

Anaheim's remarkable playoff run, which began with three

consecutive series-opening overtime victories.

That success traces to goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has

been unbeatable in overtime, with an NHL-record overtime scoreless

streak of 167 minutes, 48 seconds. He broke Patrick Roy's record of

162:56 early in the overtime.

Giguere turned aside 29 of 31 shots in by far his best game of

the finals.

"We were excited to play (overtime), because we know we can be

successful," said Giguere, who challenged his teammates to play

with the emotion and intensity they lacked in the two losses.

But the Devils might have won it if Brodeur hadn't lost his

stick and couldn't defend Sandis Ozolinsh's seemingly harmless shot

as it trickled in from center ice, putting the Ducks up 2-1 at

14:47 of the second.

Only 45 seconds before, the Devils had tied it at 1 on Patrik

Elias' goal.

"I was just trying to stop it, the stick slipped out of my

hands and the puck hit it and went in the goal," Brodeur said.

"It was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime things."

Devils coach Pat Burns said, "You don't think Patrick Roy ever

made a play like that? It's not the end of the world. You're going

to fault the goaltender for that? I'm not."

On the other bench, though, Anaheim felt it had "the break we

needed," Babcock said.

Brodeur, positioned at the left of the crease, began to scramble

over to play the puck, only to drop his stick. With Brodeur unable

to defend, the puck trickled off the stick and into the side of the

net as the goalie dropped to his knees, raising his hand to his

head in disbelief.

It was a perfectly awful play by the goalie who was near perfect

for the first seven periods of the series.

Still, the Devils bounced back to tie it at 2 when Scott Gomez

deflected Grant Marshall's wrister from above the right circle past

Giguere at 9:11 of the third. Gomez has two goals in the finals

after scoring only once in 16 games.

"Obviously, they got breaks and that's what it's all about.

They got them and we didn't get them," Burns said. "We had a

great chance tonight (to go up 3-0). But it came down to errors and

mistakes, like every hockey game does."

The maddening misplay at 14:47 of the second came slightly more

than 11 minutes after Ozolinsh set up Anaheim's first goal of the

series, by the infrequently used Marc Chouinard. That goal at 3:39

of the second ended Brodeur's scoreless streak of 143 minutes, 39

seconds, the second-longest to start the finals.

Ozolinsh shot the puck toward the net from along the boards, and

it deflected off Chouinard's stick and past Brodeur to the glove

side. The Devils scored the first goal in each of the first two

games on their home ice, and the Ducks never challenged after that

in either game.

Chouinard was scratched for the Ducks' last five games before

the finals and had only three goals all season.

The first period was scoreless for the third straight game, but

the tempo was much different from the first two games. The Mighty

Ducks, challenged Friday by Giguere to be more emotional and

physical, were both -- sometimes to their disadvantage.

"Everybody was real emotional," Giguere said. "Everybody

played a great game."

Steve Thomas, playing in his first finals at age 39, tried to

set the tone from the start, only to draw a cross-checking penalty

15 seconds in. Mike Leclerc drew another for slashing about 3{

minutes later.

However, New Jersey's power play, the second-worst in the league

during the regular season, didn't convert either time. The Devils'

power play is only 11-of-72 in the playoffs.

Anaheim star Paul Kariya, held without a shot in Game 3 for the

first time in 30 playoff games, had his best scoring chance of the

series with about four minutes left in the first, but Brodeur

stopped his rebound attempt from along the goal line.

Game notes

Anaheim won 51 of the 81 faceoffs. New Jersey is without

one of its best faceoff men, Joe Nieuwendyk, who is out with an

injury. ... This is the first time both goalies have had assists in

the same Stanley Cup finals. Brodeur had an assist on Jeff

Friesen's empty-net goal in Game 1. ... Frank McCool of Toronto had

the record scoreless streak of 188:35 during a string of three

consecutive shutouts to start the 1945 finals against Detroit. ...

Anaheim is 7-1 at home in the playoffs; New Jersey is only 4-5 on

the road, but had been 7-2 in previous finals road games. ... The

Ducks are 9-0 when they score first. ... Anaheim avoided its first

three-game losing streak since Dec. 26-Jan. 3.