<
>

Lupul's four goals lift Ducks to OT win, 3-0 series lead

DENVER (AP) -- For the first time in a while, Ilya Bryzgalov
wasn't impeccable.

He didn't have to be -- because Joffrey Lupul was.

Anaheim and its rookie goalie are still perfect against Colorado
thanks to Lupul, whose three goals in regulation and one in
overtime gave the Ducks a 4-3 win on Tuesday night and a 3-0 lead
in their Western Conference playoff series.

Lupul became the first player in NHL playoff history to cap a
four-goal game with an overtime score.

"They just went in tonight," he said. "I got a couple of good
passes. And some breaks."

Bryzgalov's shutout streak ended at three games, but the Ducks
are still a win away from advancing to the conference finals.

The Ducks can complete the sweep Thursday night at the Pepsi
Center. The Avalanche will try to join the 1975 New York Islanders
and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams tin win series
after losing the first three games.

"Obviously, it's slim," Avs defenseman Rob Blake said of
Colorado's chances. "We're not too worried about winning four
games in a row. We've got to win one. We understand our effort
needs to be greater in the next game because they matched it
(tonight) and beat us again."

Colorado had won its last six playoff overtime games, tops in
the NHL and a franchise record, including three over Dallas in the
first round of this year's playoffs.

After both teams killed a power play in the extra period, Dustin
Penner stole the puck from Patrice Brisebois in the Colorado zone
and fed Lupul, who added to his first career hat trick with a shot
from between the circles that beat Avs goaltender Jose Theodore at
16:30 of overtime.

"It is the best feeling I've ever had," Lupul said of his
game-winner.

Theodore said he had a good look at the shot but couldn't react
in time as it bounced off the stick of Avs defenseman Brett Clark
and slid underneath his legs and into the net.

"It hit the stick in front of me. If not, it's right in my
chest," Theodore said.

Lupul said he hadn't scored four times in a game since junior
hockey.

"He's making a name for himself, four goals," Avs forward Ian
Laperriere said. "Good for him, I guess. Bad for us."

The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead on Jim Dowd's short-handed goal
early in the third period, but Colorado was lax on defense and
allowed Lupul to score his second and third goals less than two
minutes apart.

Blake got caught pinching in on the blue line and Alex Tanguay's
turnover led to a 2-on-1 breakaway and Lupul tied it with his
second goal at 8:54. He gave Anaheim a 3-2 led at 10:40 with a slap
shot from between the circles.

The deflated Avs fought back to tie it at 3 on Blake's slap shot
at 13:35.

Bryzgalov allowed a goal for the first time in 249 minutes, 15
seconds when he gave up a goal late in the first period. The rookie
goalie's streak is the second-longest in NHL playoff history,
trailing only George Hainsworth's 270:08, set in 1930 for Montreal.

After posting three straight shutouts, including two against the
Avalanche in Anaheim, Bryzgalov finally gave up a goal when Dan
Hinote tapped the puck past him with 26 seconds left in the first
period, giving Colorado a 1-0 lead.

The Avs wanted to put more bodies in front of Bryzgalov and they
did.

"They put a lot more traffic. Sometimes I saw three or four
players in front of me. It was tougher for me to see the puck,"
said Bryzgalov, who made 26 saves.

The 25-year-old Russian was closing in on his 13th straight
perfect period when the Avs finally scored.

He had stopped 99 straight shots dating to the Ducks' Game 7 win
at Calgary in the Western Conference quarterfinals before Andrew
Brunette got control of the puck behind the net and with one arm
slid it to the left side of the crease to Hinote.

The Avs, who didn't get off a single shot in a 5-on-3 advantage
that lasted more than a minute, acted as though they'd won another
overtime game. It was, after all, their first goal since April 30.

The celebration was short-lived, however, as Lupul tied it at
9:02 of the second period with a slap shot after the Ducks
controlled the puck in the Colorado zone for more than a minute,
even managing a line change during that time.

The Avs found it hard to be happy about finally scoring on
Bryzgalov when Lupul broke free so often.

"It's frustrating, but obviously we didn't do enough good
things to win the game," Laperriere said. "I thought the guys
played really well tonight from goalie on, and still we didn't find
a way to win. We just need to be more desperate next game."

Game notes
Bryzgalov stopped the first seven shots he faced, passing
two other goaltenders from the 1930s: Dave Kerr of the New York
Rangers in 1937 (248:35) and Normie Smith of Detroit (248:32) in
1936. ... Colorado, the fourth highest-scoring team in the NHL, was
shut out just twice in the regular season. ... The Avs were 0-for-8
on the power play.