Alexei Yashin didn't realize it was over until he saw his Ottawa Senators teammates vaulting the Corel Centre boards.
Yashin's hard wrist shot on a power-play 2:47 into overtime gave the Senators a 2-1 win Sunday over the New Jersey Devils and a 2-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarter-final series. Game 4 is Tuesday.With Devils defenseman Lyle Odelein off for hauling down forward Magnus Arvedson on a break, Yashin took a perfect cross-ice pass from Janne Laukkanen and banked a shot between the pads of goalie Martin Brodeur.
"I didn't understand right away what happened," Yashin insisted, despite the ear-splitting roar from the capacity crowd of 18,500. "But when I saw the guys jumping over the boards I was very happy."
Yashin, the broad-shouldered Russian center with the soft hands, wasn't the only reluctant believer.
"I tried to squeeze my pads as hard as I could, but it wasn't enough," Brodeur said.
As for Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, his take on the game won't be known until Monday.
"He's a little upset and thought it might be better if I came out," assistant coach Robbie Ftorek told the post-game media throng.
The Devils, the Eastern Conference champions who finished 24 points ahead of eighth-place Ottawa, played about as well as expected, but must be starting to wonder whether last year's post-season goal drought has returned.
New Jersey outshot the Senators 31-22 - including a 12-3 margin in the third period - but was stymied by the play of goaltender Damian Rhodes and his fail-safe goalposts.
Dave Andreychuk hit the right post in overtime moments before Magnus Arvedson was pulled down as he tried to outrace Odelein one-on-one to the Jersey net.
Midway through the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Rhodes robbed Steve Thomas with a pad save on a clear breakaway.
"We have to work on our discipline a little bit and on our scoring chances," said Ftorek, who otherwise liked the Devils' game.
COYOTES 3, RED WINGS 2: Rick Tocchet and Jeremy Roenick scored power-play goals early in the third period, and Roenick redirected the winner past Chris Osgood with 7:13 left as the Coyotes beat the Red Wings to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.
The defending Stanley Cup champions, who hadn't trailed in a playoff series since Colorado eliminated them 4-2 in the 1997 Western Conference finals, get their chance to even the series Tuesday night before it returns to Detroit for Game 5 on Thursday.
The Red Wings were 3-1-2 against Phoenix during the season, contributing to the Coyotes' 35-35-12 windup and sixth-place playoff position.
SHARKS 4, STARS 1: After criticizing the Sharks for being too rough and undisciplined in the playoffs, the Dallas Stars deteriorated in San Jose's victory, with goaltender Ed Belfour getting ejected for fighting in the final minutes.
Penalized 21 times for 72 minutes in their 5-2 loss Friday in Dallas, the Sharks kept it relatively clean, narrowing their Western Conference playoff series to a 2-1 Stars advantage. Goalie Mike Vernon stopped 13 Dallas shots.
CAPITALS 3, BRUINS 2 (2OT): Joe Juneau scored after 26:31 of overtime and Olaf Kolzig stopped 52 shots as the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins to take a two games to one lead in their best-of-7 playoff series.
Former Bruin Adam Oates picked up the puck behind the Boston net and fed it in front to Juneau, who reached out to his forehand and snapped it back across goalie Byron Dafoe's body into the top corner of the net for the game-winner.
The Capitals had lost seven consecutive overtime playoff games, dating back to a 1991 first-round victory over the New York Rangers. Neither Boston nor Washington has won a playoff series since 1994.
The series resumes Tuesday night before returning to Washington for Game 5 Friday.