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.