Devils oust Lightning in six games

Monday, April 23, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New Jersey Devils insisted all along that Martin Brodeur wouldn't let them down.

Brodeur stopped 32 shots and Brian Gionta scored two goals Sunday to lead the Atlantic Division champions into the second round of the NHL playoffs with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Brian Rafalski also scored, Patrick Elias assisted on all three goals, and New Jersey ended the best-of-seven series in six games. The Devils advanced to play the Ottawa Senators.

Brad Richards scored two power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which was shutout by Brodeur in Game 5 after scoring three goals against the three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie in each of the first four games.

Brodeur's performance in the first three games raised questions about his vulnerability. He rebounded from squandering a two-goal lead in the second period on Game 4, which New Jersey won in overtime, then stopped 31 shots for his 22nd career playoff shutout Friday night.

On Sunday night, the Detroit Red Wings won their Western Conference series over the Calgary Flames with a 2-1, double-overtime victory in Game 6.

In the only remaining first-round series, the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars will play Game 7 of their Western Conference series tonight in Vancouver.

In the other first-round Eastern pairings, the Buffalo Sabres ousted the New York Islanders in five games; the New York Rangers swept the Atlanta Thrashers; and the Ottawa Senators eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.

In the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the Minnesota Stars in five games, while the San Jose Sharks also ousted the Nashville Predators in five games.

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