The New Jersey Devils captured their third championship in nine years with a 3-0 blanking of the
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as Martin Brodeur broke a record with his seventh playoff shutout and Jeff Friesen scored two more
Faced with the prospect of losing a three games to two lead in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second
time in three years, the Devils relied on Brodeur, who bounced back from a sub-par effort in Game Six and recorded his third
shutout of the series.
Six times, Brodeur has surrendered as many as five goals in a playoff game. He is 6-0 with three shutouts
in the following contest.
Friesen again victimized his former team with his fourth and fifth goals of the series. But the game-winner
was scored by rookie Michael Rupp, who also had a pair of assists in just his fourth career playoff game.
For the third time in NHL history, the home team won all seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals. New
Jersey tied the record set by the 1984 Edmonton Oilers with their 12th home win of the playoffs.
The Devils also became the first team since the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers to capture the Stanley Cup
with a losing road record in the playoffs. That's a stark contrast to their first two championships, when they tied the record
with 10 road victories.
It was a disheartening end to a magical season for the Ducks, who vanquished the defending Stanley
Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in the first round and topped the top-seeded Dallas Stars in the Western Conference semifinals.
But Anaheim was unable to win a game in New Jersey, where it has lost 10 straight since 1996. The Ducks
were outscored, 15-3, in the four games at the Continental Airlines Arena.
A small consolation was goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who became just the fifth member of the
losing team to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Once again, the second period belonged to the Devils. They outscored opponents, 22-12, in the middle
period in the playoffs, including a 9-4 edge in this series.
New Jersey broke through at 2:22 on its 10th shot of the game. Rupp pushed the puck back to the right
point, but Colin White could not handle it and it slid along the blue line to fellow defenseman Scott Niedermayer.
Stationed in the slot, Rupp tipped Niedermayer's wrist shot between the pads of Giguere for his first
goal since February 12.
The Devils squandered a power play after Rob Niedermayer was penalized for interference, and Anaheim
created its best flurry of the game. Brodeur denied former Devil Steve Thomas cutting off the right wing with just under 11
minutes left and stopped Steve Rucchin from the top of the crease two minutes later.
With 7:42 to go in the period, Niedermayer wristed a one-timer from the blue line that Giguere stopped.
The rebound bounced out to the slot and off Rupp before Friesen scored from the edge of the right circle.
It was the ninth playoff goal and fourth in this series for the former Duck.
Brodeur kicked out a blast from the edge of the left circle by Paul Kariya with 5:49 remaining and
New Jersey nearly made it 3-0 two minutes later when Pascal Rheaume's backhander went off Giguere's right pad and spun along
the goal line before it was cleared by an Anaheim defenseman.
After combining for 17 goals in the previous two games, the teams got back to the defensive style that
marked the first four contests, totaling just 12 shots in the opening period.
The Ducks had the period's lone power play, but the Devils had the better scoring opportunities.
Sergei Brylin chipped a shot over the net with 11:17 left, then was stopped from the slot by Giguere
5 1/2 minutes later. But New Jersey's best chance came shorthanded while killing a penalty with 1:34 remaining.
Patrik Elias got to a loose puck outside the right faceoff circle, cut to the net and tried a backhander.
But Giguere extended his left pad against the right goalpost to make the save.