Jeff Friesen beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the all-important first goal early in the second period Tuesday as the New Jersey Devils beat the offense-less Mighty Ducks 3-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup.
Playing on a makeshift line that was missing injured center Joe Nieuwendyk, Friesen scored his fourth game-winning goal in seven games to halt the momentum Anaheim brought into the finals including stunning upsets of powers Detroit and Dallas and a four-game sweep of Minnesota.
"Playing my old team, that gave me some jump," Friesen said.
Unable to knock the rust off from a 10-day layoff that was the longest ever for a Stanley Cup finalist, Anaheim looked like ducks out of water against the patient, make-no-mistakes Devils, who now take a 1-0 lead into Game 2 Thursday.
"In fairness to them, you could tell they had a little rust on their blades," said Devils coach Pat Burns, coaching in his first finals since 1986. "But they'll get better as the series goes along."
The Ducks gave up only 21 goals in their first 14 playoff games but also scored only 33, and they don't have a single scorer among the top 15 in the playoffs.
That scarcity of offense showed up against a Devils team that allowed the fewest goals in the league during the season; Anaheim had only four shots in each of the first two periods, and so few good scoring chances that goalie Martin Brodeur often went minutes at a time without seeing the puck in his end.
It was Brodeur's first finals shutout and his fifth in this year's playoffs.
"The shutout isn't important, the win is," Brodeur said. "Now, our magic number is three."
Friesen, traded from the Mighty Ducks to the Devils in the deal involving Petr Sykora last summer, added an empty net goal with 22 seconds remaining.