DENVER (AP) -- Trying to erase a deficit against New Jersey is like skating in an elevator. It's even more difficult when the Devils are at their claustrophobic best.
Playing the hard-checking, zone-clogging style that helped them cruise through the Eastern Conference, the Devils regained their championship form Tuesday night, beating the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 to pull even in the Stanley Cup finals.
The series moves to New Jersey for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Saturday.
"We were preaching for three days that we had to work harder," New Jersey defenseman Ken Daneyko said, his nose bloody from a high stick. "We earned this win."
Coming off a 5-0 loss in the series opener, the Devils vowed to play more physical in Game 2.
The aggressive approach nearly caused more problems for New Jersey as Joe Sakic scored his third goal of the series after Devils forward Sergei Brylin took a blatant penalty less than five minutes in.
Instead of sulking, the Devils seemed to gain life from their predicament and the momentum shifted when Bob Corkum scored on a breakaway one second after New Jersey killed Colorado's third power play of the first period.
Corkum, filling in for injured forward Randy McKay, celebrated his first playoff goal in three years with a fist-pumping display near the boards while Avs goalie Patrick Roy cursed himself under his mask.
"When you dream happy dreams, you dream about scoring a goal," Corkum said. "The opportunity presented itself. That's what playoffs are all about sometimes."
The goal was the first against Roy in the Stanley Cup finals since Rob Niedermayer -- brother of New Jersey defenseman Scott Niedermayer -- scored 11:19 of the first period in Game 3 of the 1996 finals. The span covered four games and 227 minutes, 41 seconds -- 1:41 short of the NHL record.
By proving to themselves that Roy was not made of brick and mortar, the Devils added what proved to be the game-winner less than three minutes later when Turner Stevenson took a backhand hack from the slot and put the puck over Roy's left shoulder.
"I honestly thought that the second goal would not make the difference in the game," Roy said. "That was a bit of a surprise to me that it did make the difference."
Leading for the first time in the series, the Devils went into Terminator mode, limiting Colorado's chances against goalie Martin Brodeur and doing their best to gain a psychological edge.
Scott Stevens, a wrecking ball on skates, led all players with five hits and appeared to spit toward Adam Foote while skating past the Colorado bench.
"I didn't see it at all," Avalanche forward Dave Reid said. "I don't recall Footie mentioning it, and everybody knows Footie. He is emotional and he would have gone ballistic."
For all their intimidation, the Devils kept Colorado in the game by taking two penalties three minutes apart early in the third period.
The Avs managed one shot during those four minutes and finished with 20 shots overall -- 14 in the game's final 54 minutes.
"Especially in the third period, when we get two opportunities like that, we at least have to get better shots, quality shots," Colorado forward Chris Drury said.
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