Ducks look to break through against Devils

May 29, 2003 at 12:30 PM
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 29 (UPI) -- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hope the rust is gone when they battle New Jersey Thursday night in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Playing for the first time in 11 days, the Mighty Ducks looked lethargic in a 3-0 loss in the series opener Tuesday night.

Many wondered how the Ducks would respond coming off the longest pre-Stanley Cup Finals layoff in 37 years.

The answer was clear.

Anaheim managed just 16 shots while yielding a handful of odd-man rushes.

"I don't want to take anything away from New Jersey because they were good, but we weren't very good," said Anaheim Coach Mike Babcock.

The Ducks are in unfamiliar territory in more ways than one.

In addition to being in the Finals for the first time, they have dropped the opener on the road for the first time this postseason.

Without home-ice advantage in any of its series, Anaheim won Games One and Two in each of its first three series.

Being in the Stanley Cup Finals is nothing new to the Devils, who are making their fourth trip to the championship round since 1995. They won it all in 1995 and 2000, and lost to Colorado in 2001.

In Game One, former Duck Jeff Friesen scored twice and Martin Brodeur recorded his 18th career playoff shutout.

Perhaps with some extra incentive against his old team, Friesen solved star Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the all-important first goal. The Devils are 9-0 this postseason when scoring first.

"I know we played the game we wanted to play (Tuesday)," said New Jersey Coach Pat Burns. "Now it's going to be who's going to react to what."

The Devils have never lost a series after taking a two games to none lead.

New Jersey again will be without center Joe Nieuwendyk, who is sidelined with a hip injury.

"The hardest part is the frustration," Nieuwendyk said. "It makes for long days when you know you can't play, but I'm still very much optimistic that I can get back in the series."

The series shifts to Anaheim for Game Three on Saturday night.

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