Originally created 06/02/01

Foote marked man on defense



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Adam Foote has a tough job keeping New Jersey's A-Line in check. While he's doing that, he has to watch out - he's become a target.

"He's a warrior, he's in people's face all the time," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "No one likes to play against Adam Foote, and every time that someone has a chance to get a lick on Adam Foote they do."

In Colorado's 3-1 victory Thursday night over the Devils in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Jason Arnott - the Devils top line center - hit Foote against the boards from behind. Arnott was whistled for a penalty with 58 seconds left in the middle period.

"He almost got me with a clean hit," Foote said Friday. "I was just a little bit on the side. It is a tough call for the official. It just shows you the game, it is just fractions where it could be a clean hit or they think it is a bad hit."

Whether it was clean or not, it led to a costly power play. Ray Bourque, Foote's defensive partner, scored the game-winning goal 31 seconds into the third to make that man-advantage pay off.

Arnott's drive might have stemmed from the pressure he and his linemates are feeling. After carrying the Devils in the last three games of the conference finals against Pittsburgh, the trio of Arnott, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias has just one power-play goal from Arnott in this series.

"I don't know if he was frustrated," Foote said.

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KICKED OUT: What a way to kick off the second weekend of the Stanley Cup finals. The New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche got the boot from Continental Airlines Arena on Friday because an Arena Football game was scheduled there at night.

After Colorado took a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series Thursday night, arena workers quickly began converting the floor for the Buffalo Destroyers-New Jersey Gladiators football game.

So, the NHL's top two teams had to hit the road to prepare for Saturday's Game 4 back at the Meadowlands.

The Avalanche held a media availability session at the team's hotel in the morning before holding an optional practice at a local ice rink. The Devils met with reporters after they worked out at South Mountain Arena - the team's regular practice facility - in nearby West Orange, N.J.

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SHUT DOWN: The defensive-conscious Avalanche have allowed one goal or fewer in eight of their last 12 playoff games. Colorado, which has yielded only three goals to the defending-champion Devils through three games of the Stanley Cup finals, started the run with a 3-0 victory in Game 4 of the second round against Los Angeles.

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BAD SIGN:Things keep going wrong for the New Jersey Devils. Throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, once the Devils got the lead they were able to hold on to it.

Now, the Colorado Avalanche are starting to take that away from them just as they have limited New Jersey's ability to skate freely.

With their 3-1 loss in Game 3 of the finals, the Devils had their mark fall to 9-2 in the playoffs when they score first.

Jason Arnott's first goal of the series - a power-play score 3:16 into the game - didn't hold up as the Avalanche rallied to win.

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SEASONED VET: Chris Drury already dealt with the pressure of leading Trumbull, Conn. to the Little League World Series title. He's not going to be fazed by his first trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Drury, who led Trumbull to the 1989 Little League championship over Taiwan, is becoming an NHL star. He has scored 20, 20 and 24 in his first three seasons with the Avalanche. Now he is just two Colorado wins away from becoming a Stanley Cup champion.

"I do feel like I have a lot of experience," the 24-year-old center said Friday. "I don't know exactly how many playoff games I have played, going to the conference finals two years and now the Stanley Cup finals. It's been a great experience and I am very fortunate. A lot of people couldn't get that far ever.

"I have done that already. Hopefully, I can go a little bit further."