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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Final games to decide Stanley Cup

Two teams stand on the brink of greatness and immortality, with only the other in their way. For the Colorado Avalanche, a win tonight and another in Game 7 Saturday night in Colorado, will make them the winners of the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of the NHL. For the New Jersey Devils, all that remains for them is to win tonight on home ice to be the owners of Lord Stanley\'s Cup for a second straight year.\nWhat has occurred the past weeks is some of the best hockey played by each team, but not at the same time. In Game 1, Colorado crushed the Devils in a 5-0 whitewashing in Denver, a game in which New Jersey clearly wasn't ready to play. Game 2 came along and saw the Devils even the score, winning 2-1 despite not receiving a goal from their vaunted "A-Line" of Patrick Elias, Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott. \nThe Avalanche recaptured home ice advantage in Game 3, winning 3-1 with the game-winning goal being scored by "Old Man River" himself, defender Ray Borque. Borque has been in the league for 22 years and has yet to get his name on the Cup, which has been a rallying cry for Colorado throughout these playoffs, as the players wear hats saying \"Mission: 16W," signifying the number of wins necessary to win the Cup. \nGame 4 provided what might be the turning point of the series. Colorado held a 2-1 edge in the third period when disaster struck. Goalie Patrick Roy, the winningest goalie in NHL history, misplayed a puck behind his net, allowing Scott Gomez to tie the game at the 8:09 mark. The Devils went on to win Game 4 3-2, tying the series up at 2 and making Game 5 crucial. \nThe Devils played Game 5 without Arnott after he was hit in the head with a puck during Game 4 -- though you could hardly know it -- as they crushed the Avalanche on their home ice 4-1. Elias and Sykora have awakened and are producing goals and assists the past couple games, which is a bad sign for the Avalanche.\nThe Devils could be the most stacked team in the NHL, rivaled only by the team they face in the Finals, Colorado. Both teams combine veterans with youth, potent offenses, good defenses and great goaltending. Each team has suffered injuries this postseason, but Colorado's might be more serious. The Devils lost right winger Randy McKay with a broken hand in Game 1, and now Arnott is questionable for Game 6 as well. Yet the Avalanche lost center Peter Forsberg to a ruptured spleen in Game 7 of the conference semifinals against the L.A. Kings . Forsberg was one of Colorado's best players, leading them in playoff points at the time of his injury. Forsberg might have made a difference in this series, but now no one will ever know.\nColorado will have to wake their offense back up to extend the series to Game 7 tonight, and the Devils have a chance to do what they failed to do last year -- win the Stanley Cup on their home ice. I think Colorado will rally behind Borque in their attempt to win him his first Cup and win tonight to take it back to Colorado. Then -- in what would be a truly storybook ending -- Borque scores the game winner in overtime of Game 7, then rides off into the sunset having quashed the demon of never having won a Cup.

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