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Nieuwendyk scores for fifth time in eight games

1/23/2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Nieuwendyk got hit in the head. Then
he delivered the knockout punch.

Nieuwendyk scored the tying goal with 13 seconds left in
regulation and then won it with 28 seconds remaining in overtime to
rally the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 victory against the San Jose
Sharks on Wednesday night.

Nieuwendyk, who said he was knocked woozy toward the end of the
second period, won a faceoff, then got in position to redirect Jeff
Friesen's shot past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to tie it. He scored
the game-winner on a breakaway.

"It dazed me a little bit," Nieuwendyk said of the hit. "I
still knew exactly what I wanted to do on the breakaway. There was
no hesitation. I just stayed with what works best."

Nieuwendyk scored three goals in his first 34 games this season,
but now has five in his last eight, including No. 500 against
Carolina on Friday.

"Nieuwendyk has been playing well the whole season," New
Jersey coach Pat Burns said. "He got over the hump with his 500th,
and now he's gold."

Nieuwendyk said it was just a matter of finding his rhythm.

"I've just been playing with more confidence," he said.
"There's no secret it was a big adjustment coming from Dallas to
here. It wasn't that I was looking for a breakout game but I was
looking for some consistency. I've been feeling at ease the past
three weeks."

Patrick Marleau and Adam Graves scored 33 seconds apart in the
third period to give the Sharks a 4-3 lead. Owen Nolan added two
goals as San Jose lost its third straight and fell to 1-5-2-2 in
the last 10 games.

"We came out with a point, but it's disappointing it was only a
point," Sharks defenseman Dan McGillis said. "The bounces went
their way."

Friesen scored a goal and added two assists as the Devils
extended their season-best unbeaten streak to eight games. Scott
Niedermayer and Sergei Brylin also scored for the Devils.

Friesen scored his fifth goal in six games following a nine-game
scoreless drought.

Marleau scored the game-tying goal with 13:14 left in the third.
Jeff Fahey passed from behind the net to Teemu Selanne, whose shot
hit the right post and bounced to Marleau. He scored into an open
net.

Graves scored the go-ahead goal after redirecting Vincent
Damphousse's shot over the left shoulder of goalie Martin Brodeur,
who recorded career win No. 350 despite allowing four goals for the
first time since Dec. 14, 18 games ago.

"This is the best we've played in some time," Graves said.
"But it's not consolation. We had a ton of chances, probably the
most in the last six games."

Friesen opened the scoring less than five minutes in when he
sent a shot in from the left circle after taking a pass from Jamie
Langenbrunner from the red line.

Nolan tied it 1-1 with 7:19 remaining in the first. Scott Hannan
took a long shot that Brodeur blocked. Nolan picked up the rebound
and fired it in.

The Devils scored twice within a minute late in the first period
to take a 3-1 lead.

"We keep collapsing anytime we do well out there," Sharks
coach Ron Wilson said. "It seems like we're always expecting
something bad to happen to us."

Friesen picked up a loose puck, passed ahead to Nieuwendyk, who
tipped it to Niedermayer. He scored with 4:13 remaining.

Brylin scored a short-handed goal, just New Jersey's third, with
3:12 left after clearing the puck out of the Devils zone and later
receiving a pass from Patrik Elias.

Less than a minute later, Nolan scored his second goal on a
power play to bring the Sharks within 3-2. After a flurry in front,
in which Damphousse and McGillis each had shots blocked, Nolan
punched in a rebound from the top of the crease.

Game notes
Friesen, traded by San Jose to Anaheim in 2001, is second
on the Sharks' career scoring list behind Nolan. ... This was the
first of three games in four days for the Devils. ... McGillis left
the game late in the second period after getting hit in the head by
Turner Stevenson. He complained of a headache. ... Marleau's goal
was San Jose's 2,500th in team history.

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