Originally created 06/08/01

Stanley Cup notebook



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ray Bourque knows playoff disappointment well.

As he and the Colorado Avalanche faced elimination in Thursday night's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against New Jersey, Bourque tried to stay positive.

"In this situation, you've got nothing to lose," said the 40-year-old, whose previous 22 seasons have ended without a championship. "You work hard to get this opportunity and in this position. You've got to make the most of it.

"We've got nothing left other than just going out there and playing strong and playing a good game and giving us a chance to win."

Bourque wasn't fazed when asked if he was facing the biggest game of his career.

"Oh yeah, of course it is. But beyond that ...," he said with a smirk and a shrug.

GAME 6: The Devils are the first team in 21 years - and eighth overall - to play host to a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals with a chance to win the title.

The last six teams to play at home, including Dallas last year and Buffalo in 1999, were behind 3-2.

Of the previous seven teams that had the opportunity to end the series at home in Game 6, four were successful - including the last three.

The Devils have won five straight Game 6s in the playoffs, dating to the 1999 Eastern Conference first round against Pittsburgh.

New Jersey eliminated Carolina in Game 6 of this year's first round. In the conference semifinals, they forced a seventh game by winning at Toronto.

SEEKING TICKETS: In what is normally unheard of for a potential Stanley Cup-clinching game for the home team, some New Jersey Devils fans held out hope they'd be able to land tickets for Thursday night's big game.

The Devils were much maligned for only selling out eight of 41 home games, and the opinion is that not many people care that the team is going for its second straight Stanley Cup.

Fans began lining up at 9 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday night, 23 hours before Game 6. By mid-afternoon Thursday, the line had grown to about 35 people who received pink wristbands that carried a slight chance that tickets would be available for purchase at face value.

Each of the first few people in Thursday's line bought tickets from the box office for Games 3 and 4 of the series against Colorado. They were looking for their luck to continue so they could root on the Devils.

SURPRISED SWEDE: Colorado forward Peter Forsberg, whose playing status has been a hot topic the past week, was caught by surprise Thursday when about 20 reporters surrounded him outside the team's locker room.

The scrum didn't last long.

"Sorry, I can't really talk right now. There's getting too many people here," Forsberg said before slipping away from the pack.

Forsberg, a six-time All-Star, has missed 10 playoff games since having his spleen removed May 10. With Colorado facing elimination, there was speculation he might return for Game 6 or Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Avalanche coach Bob Hartley has said Forsberg will not play, and there was no reason to believe otherwise Thursday when he did not take part in the team's morning skate.

STOP, YOU'RE SCARING ME: New Jersey Devils coach Larry Robinson is no more wary of the Colorado Avalanche, with the chance to knock them out of the finals, than he was earlier in the series.

"They are dangerous every night," Robinson said hours before Game 6, which his team entered with a 3-2 lead. "Anytime you have Patrick Roy in the net, and Joe Sakic and Ray Bourque and (Milan) Hejduk and the likes of those players on your team, you are dangerous every night."