Series (Game 1 of 2)

New Jersey leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, November 1st
Game 2: Sunday, November 30th

Avalanche 3

(5-5-0, 10 pts)

Devils 4

(5-3-0, 12 pts)

1:00 PM ET, November 1, 2003

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
COL 2 0 13
NJ 1 1 24

J. Friesen (Devils - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Hejduk (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Tanguay (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Devils continue to rebound from slow start

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jeff Friesen gave all the credit to Michael Rupp for his unassisted game-winning goal.

Friesen scored with 5:27 remaining to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

"Michael drove to the net and backed the defense up," Friesen said. "It froze their goalie, with that big body going to the net. I got it on net, and it found a way to go in off the post."

Friesen had picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated into the Avalanche zone. He pulled up at the top of the right circle and fired the shot past goaltender David Aebischer.

"Aebischer was probably thinking different when he saw Rupp going to the net," Devils coach Pat Burns said. "He cheated over to one side and that opened the hole for the goal."

The goal capped a frantic third period that started with the teams deadlocked at 2. The Stanley Cup champions took a 3-2 lead on White's goal at 9:30, only to see Hedjuk pull Colorado even at 13:51. Friesen got the deciding goal 42 seconds later.

"We got a little bit sloppy in the third," Aebischer said. "That wound up costing us in the end."

Colorado coach Tony Granato agreed that poor play proved costly against the Devils.

"They thrive on that and that's what they're built on," Granato said. "When we did make a mistake, it was in the back of our net."

Scott Niedermayer, Scott Gomez and Colin White also scored for the Devils, which won its second straight game at home after opening the season 0-3-1 in New Jersey. Martin Brodeur made 20 saves to preserve the win.

Joe Sakic, Alex Tanguay and Milan Hedjuk had Colorado's goals. The Avalanche got Teemu Selanne back in the lineup, but were without Peter Forsberg.

Selanne returned after missing one game because of a swollen knee. Forsberg sat out due to a groin injury and is day-to-day.

Gomez scored the lone goal of the second period to make it 2-2. He beat Avalanche defenseman Martin Skoula to the rebound of Brian Rafalski's shot and netted his first goal of the season at 9:18.

Tanguay scored with 3.1 seconds remaining in the first period to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Tanguay knocked the rebound of Sakic's shot past Brodeur to cap a flurry of three goals in 83 seconds.

The Avalanche struck first as Sakic flipped Rob Blake's rebound over Brodeur for a power-play goal at 18:33. New Jersey quickly evened the score on a power-play goal by Niedermayer at 19:26.

Game notes

The Devils swapped players on the injured reserve list. New Jersey removed D David Hale, who missed four games with a groin injury, and put RW Grant Marshall on the list with a sore back. ... Tanguay's goal extended his point-scoring streak to eight games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press