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Devils Beat Lightning, Advance to East Finals

From Associated Press

The New Jersey Devils are going to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in four years.

Grant Marshall scored on a rebound at 11:12 of the third overtime and the Devils eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Friday night at East Rutherford, N.J.

It will be the Devils’ fourth appearance in the conference finals since 1995, and they haven’t lost one -- winning two Stanley Cups and missing out on a third in a deciding Game 7 to Colorado in 2001.

Scott Niedermayer also scored for New Jersey and Martin Brodeur, who gave up only eight goals in the five games against the Lightning, made 38 saves in the second-longest game in Devil history.

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Nikita Alexeev scored for the Lightning, which reached the conference semifinals for the first time in its 11-year existence.

The Lightning got a great effort in the final game from goalie John Grahame, who started in place of Nikolai Khabibulin, who gave up three goals a game in the playoffs. Grahame made 46 saves in his first playoff appearance.

Vancouver 3, Minnesota 2 -- Brent Sopel sent a slap shot under Manny Fernandez’s glove on an extended power play with 4:08 left in overtime at St. Paul, Minn.

The Canucks lead the series, 3-1.

Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Wild, which is 1-4 at home in the postseason.

Filip Kuba was assessed a major penalty for hitting Todd Bertuzzi in the eye with his stick, giving the Canucks a four-minute power play midway through the overtime period.

With 18 seconds left on the man-advantage, Sopel took a pass from Markus Naslund, wound up for a shot and sent the puck past Fernandez.


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