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Wednesday, May 21

Updated: May 22, 5:06 PM ET

Nieuwendyk suffers apparent leg injury

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils lost the momentum in the Eastern Conference finals, and they might have lost Joe Nieuwendyk for an unanticipated Game 7.

The veteran center had to be helped off the bench after the Devils' 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 Wednesday night. Twenty-five minutes after the game ended, Nieuwendyk limped into the locker room, seeming to favor his left leg.

When asked about the injury, Nieuwendyk said: "I really don't know. I just went down in the corner and had a hard time getting back up."

Chris Phillips' winner at 15:51 came seconds after Nieuwendyk was hurt in a pileup behind the Senators' net battling for a loose puck.

Nieuwendyk, who tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal early in the third period, would not say what was hurt, but it clearly seemed to be a leg injury.

"We'll take a look at it tomorrow and see," he said. "It feels better already. I'm not lying to you when I say I don't know what happened. All I know was it was at the end of a shift."

Regardless of Nieuwendyk's playing status, his team's third trip to the Stanley Cup finals in four years now is in serious jeopardy. After opening a 3-1 lead in the series, the Devils lost Game 5, 3-1 in Ottawa, and they squandered a second chance to put the Senators away on Wednesday night.

"That's a position we feel we didn't want to be in," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 32 saves. "But we have to live with how we let them back in the series. They outplayed us in Ottawa, and today they snuck one in."

Phillips' winning goal was set up by Marian Hossa. He skated around Devils defenseman Scott Stevens on the right wing and threw a pass in front that went off Brodeur's stick, with the puck landing in the crease.

Senators forward Vaclav Varada banged at the puck, but he kept hitting the blade of Brodeur's stick. Phillips then came in behind Varada and slammed the puck home.

Devils defenseman Colin White took responsibility for the goal, saying he went to cover Hossa, leaving the crease open. Phillips made the Devils pay for that mistake.

"They feel high," Brodeur said of the Senators, who are trying to reach their first Cup finals. "They feel good about themselves. How can we feel good about ourselves? We lost two games.

The only thing we have to fall back on is I thought we played decent. We deserved probably better than we got today. But it's the playoffs. It's not how you play. Winning is really important."
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