Devils waste another 3-2 Cup lead

New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur watches as a goal by Anaheim's Paul Kariya finds the net. Brodeur might have suffered whiplash Saturday night as the Ducks routed the Devils, 5-2, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in Anaheim, Calif.

? There’s something about a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup finals that just doesn’t agree with New Jersey.

The Devils needed only to beat surprising Anaheim Saturday night in Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup for the third time since 1995.

But the silver trophy stayed in its traveling case and the champagne remained corked. The Ducks won, 5-2, before a boisterous crowd at the Pond to tie the series at 3 games apiece.

The deciding game will be Monday night in New Jersey.

Goalie Martin Brodeur and the rest of the Devils knew it wasn’t going to be easy to win Game 6 at the Pond.

And it wasn’t.

The home team has won every game this series, and the Devils were never in this one.

“It’s been like the homer series so far, but you never know what’s going to happen in a Game 7,” Brodeur said. “You rely on a bounce here, a bounce there — not just to win a series, not just to advance, but to win it all now.”

The Devils were in the same position going into Game 6 just two years ago.

Leading Colorado 3-2 in the series, a win in Game 6 at home would let the Devils hoist the Cup for the second straight year. But they were beaten badly in games 6 and 7, first at home and then on the road, by a combined score of 7-1.

Although the Devils had won the Stanley Cup the year before — clinching it in Game 6 against Dallas — the loss to the Avalanche stuck with them all that summer. They don’t want to experience that feeling again.

“You don’t have too many opportunities to go in and have a chance to win a Stanley Cup,” Brodeur said. “We had two cracks at it last time and we didn’t come through. We had two cracks this time and first one we failed, and hopefully we’ll be better in Game 7.”

If the Devils lose they’ll be the only team in the last 32 years to not win after holding a 3-2 lead.

Brodeur thinks the Devils will be more disciplined at home.

“I think it’s important for us to try to get the lead,” he said. “Whenever we’re trailing, we just have a hard time competing with these guys.

“I think we were out of control. Defensively, we ran after guys and tried to make some hits. Every time we get on the road, we seem to be like that. At home, we don’t seem to have that problem.”

Brodeur was pulled with more than 10 minutes left in the third period after allowing five goals on 22 shots.

Anaheim’s five goals matched the most given up this postseason by Brodeur, who lost 5-1 to Boston in the first round.