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Friday, May 23

Updated: May 23, 10:01 PM ET

Nieuwendyk too sore to finish Game 7

Associated Press

OTTAWA -- New Jersey Devils center Joe Nieuwendyk was too sore to finish Game 7 against Ottawa on Friday night, but he hopes to be ready for the start of the Stanley Cup finals.

Nieuwendyk played three shifts in the Devils' 3-2 victory of the Eastern Conference finals before pulling himself out of the game.

Nieuwendyk said he thought he needed to come out, even though he had the Devils' best initial scoring opportunity.

Three minutes into the game, he snapped a shot from the slot, which Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime stopped.

"It took a lot to try to get that puck away, I'll tell you that," Nieuwendyk said. "I couldn't function near 100 percent, so I knew I was going to be more of a detriment than a help out there.

"But hey, I've got three days now. It's going to be hard to keep me out of the finals, I hope."

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against Anaheim is Tuesday night in New Jersey.

Nieuwendyk initially got hurt late in the Devils' 2-1 overtime loss in Game 6 Wednesday night. After falling in the corner, he needed help getting off the ice and was seen limping in the New Jersey locker room.

He hasn't disclosed specific details about the injury, saying only that it's in his hip area.
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