Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 2)

New Jersey leads 1-0

Game 1: Sunday, December 21st
Devils2Final
OT
Blackhawks2
Game 2: Thursday, March 11th
Blackhawks4Final
Devils6

Devils 2

(18-6-0, 44 pts)

Blackhawks 2

(7-17-3, 24 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 21, 2003

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 OT T
NJ 0 1 1 02
CHI 0 0 2 02

S. Gomez (Devils - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Brodeur (Devils - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .941

M. Leighton (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .931

Chicago has only one win in last 20

CHICAGO (AP) -- After honoring Keith Magnuson for his determination before the game, the Chicago Blackhawks displayed some of their own.

Ville Nieminen and Burke Henry scored third-period goals as Chicago Blackhawks battled back from a pair of one-goal deficits to tie the New Jersey Devils 2-2 on Sunday night.

"As a team we showed a lot of character for tonight's people and for the Magnuson family," Nieminen said. "We really played our hearts out. I thought that was the greatest hockey game in this building this year."

Chicago honored Magnuson, who was killed in a three-car accident on Monday, Dec. 15 in Toronto, with video tribute and moment of silence before the game.

"It's been a tough week for our team," Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. "A lot of our players are youngsters and their fathers are the same age as Maggie. Some of our guys didn't understand what he meant (until now). The characteristics that he brought to the game, the heart and the character. He's just a guy you looked up to. Maggie was a Blackhawk."

Despite slowing down the defending Stanley Cup champions, Chicago still has only one win in its last 20 games (1-12-4-3). New Jersey finished its five-game road trip with three wins and a tie.

"I'm happy with the point on the road," Devils coach Pat Burns said. "Any point on the road you've got to be happy with. I think we were definitely tired at the end of a road trip."

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was sharp, stopping 32 shots in his 20th straight start.

"We're not used to being away from home this long," he said. "I think it's working on everybody mentally.

"It's a tough tie when you're leading with four minutes left," he said. "They took it to us."

Nieminen scored with 3:49 remaining tie the game at 2. He took a pass from Scott Nichol and skated from the right circle, around a fallen Scott Stevens and into the slot before beating Brodeur with a wrist shot from 15 feet.

"My shot was not really hard," said Nieminen. "It was not a perfect shot. Marty Brodeur was stopping it too early and it flew over his shoulder."

Scott Gomez and Scott Stevens scored and assisted on each other's goals for New Jersey.

Gomez opened the scoring at 9:15 of the second period. Michael Leighton stopped Stevens' slap shot from the left point but Gomez knocked in the rebound.

Henry tied the game at 3:34 of the third period. Henry took a pass at the left point from Stephane Robidas and fired a slap shot that dipped under a screened Brodeur.

"I didn't expect him to shoot to score from there. I expected him to shoot for a rebound," Brodeur said. "The guy got a lot of wood on it. It's a shot I should normally stop if I see it."

Stevens scored with 5:43 left in the third to regain the lead for New Jersey. Gomez found Stevens alone in the slot and Stevens slipped the puck between Leighton's left pad and the post.

"I joined the play," Stevens said. "If I didnt jump up, I don't get a chance and score."

Leighton stopped 27 shots, including a good opportunity from Gomez with 90 seconds left in overtime.

Game notes


Gomez was also inspired from the tribute to Magnuson. "I met Mr. Magnuson when I was 16 years old. He was one of those guys who made you smile and happy that you were a hockey player," he said. Gomez extended his points-scoring streak to five games (two goals, five assists). Gomez appeared to score again with 8:31 remaining in the second, but Sergei Brylin was called for goaltender interference and the goal was disallowed. New Jersey has one other season-high five game road trip. Chicago defenseman Steve Poapst left with an injured leg in the second period but is expected to play Tuesday against St. Louis.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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