Thu, May 15, 2003 - Page 20 News List

All square in the East as Devils trounce Senators

REUTERS , OTTAWA

Veteran defenseman Tommy Albelin scored his first playoff goal in eight years and Martin Brodeur made 30 saves to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 after the Senators won the first game 3-2 in overtime in Ottawa on Saturday.

Game 3 is in New Jersey tomorrow night.

Brodeur was outstanding for the Devils, making several key saves at crucial times in the game as the Devils rebounded from the opening game loss despite being out-shot 31-21.

Devils coach Pat Burns wasn't the least bit surprised that once again, his veteran goalie was the difference.

"That's why he should be the MVP in the league and that's why there's no question in my mind that he should be the Vezina (Trophy) winner," Burns said. "He has done it all year long."

Brodeur made it look easy, as his solid play kept the sell-out crowd of 18,500 at the Corel Centre quiet most of the evening. But he says it's anything but easy beating Ottawa.

"It's a team that's so skilled offensively, it's hard to shut them down," Brodeur said.

"They were warriors against Philly (Philadelphia), they were warriors against the Islanders, and I'm sure they'll be warriors against us too.

"But we came here to win one game, we accomplished that feat, now we feel good about ourselves."

The 38-year-old Albelin, reinserted in the line-up for only his fourth post-season game this year, quickly repaid coach Pat Burns for the chance with a shot from the point that crept past a screened Patrick Lalime at 4:15 of the first period to open the scoring.

Albelin hadn't scored a playoff goal since a 1995 series against the Boston Bruins.

But Burns' decision to bench veteran defensemen Ken Daneyko and Oleg Trevedovsky in favour of Albelin and Richard Smehlik for Game Two was not a major decision, according to the coach.

"Albelin scored a big goal but I don't think it was the decision of the game or the decision of the century," Burns said.

"I just think it was a decision that we talked about and had to make."

Later in the first period, Devils left winger Jeff Friesen skated the length of the ice on a two-on-one before easily beating Lalime, who allowed four goals on just 21 shots, to make it 2-0.

Radek Bonk revived Ottawa's hopes with a goal early in the second period, but John Madden picked up a long pass and scored from the face-off circle at 16:33, making it 3-1.

Jay Pandolfo converted a rebound from the slot late in the third period to complete the scoring.

The Senators had four early powerplay chances and failed to convert on any of them.

That more than anything else was the reason they lost, according to Ottawa coach Jacques Martin.

"I think that our powerplay just didn't execute," Martin said. "I think we had three or four opportunities in the first period and you kind of lose some momentum [not scoring].

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