EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils don't want to hear that the Stanley Cup trophy has been sent to Continental Airlines Arena.
There's no way anyone on Colorado, trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven finals, wants to see that cup Thursday night. If it appears, that means the Avalanche have lost their bid to win the NHL title.
The Devils also don't want to even think about the cup at this point. It's just another distraction.
"Sometimes, you have ideas in your head that you're so close, and you start thinking ahead, which is the worst thing you can do," said Devils forward Patrik Elias, one of number of players who would have to be considered for the Conn Smythe Trophy if New Jersey wins its second straight cup.
"We did the same thing last year when we had a chance to win the cup at home against Dallas. We ended up going back to Dallas, and things could have gone either way after that."
No kidding. The Devils didn't nail down the cup until Jason Arnott scored in the second overtime of Game 6.
That's a scary thought, and one of the things that is motivating this year's team. They don't want to go back to Colorado for Game 7 on Saturday night.
"We have one thing to accomplish," said Devils center Bobby Holik, whose tenacious defense against Colorado's top scorers has made him another MVP candidate. "That's for this team to play a great hockey game to win. That's all we care about: What we have to do to win. That's it."
If the Devils win, they will have taken a major step toward establishing a dynasty with three titles in seven years. They will become only the fourth team since expansion in the 1960s to win that many titles, joining Montreal, Edmonton and the New York Islanders.
While the Devils are close, don't count out the Avalanche just yet. Not with Patrick Roy in goal and with the Devils' penchant to mess things up when things are going so well.
It's been their trademark throughout the playoffs, and the likelihood of it repeating itself increases with both teams getting an extra day off before Game 6.
Colorado really needed it after being outplayed in the last two games.
"I'm sure everybody in this dressing room is so anxious," said Alex Tanguay, who had Colorado's only goal in a 4-1 loss on Monday. "We're still in it. We're still fighting for it, and it's going to be up to us to make sure that we find solutions, and we go out there and win some hockey games."
Also pushing Colorado is the Ray Bourque factor. After 22 years, No. 77 is just two wins away from his first cup, and his teammates can't wait to see him sip from the silver chalice.
"We know we can win there, and we've won some big games all year on the road," Bourque said. "This is the biggest one. We're going to go out there and win the hockey game and come back to Denver for the seventh game."
For that to happens, Colorado has to slow down the Devils' counterattacks. The Avalanche were caught pushing the attack in the past two games, and the Devils have gotten more than a half-dozen odd-man rushes.
Patrick Roy, whose turnover behind the net in Game 4 changed the momentum of the series, has been the only reason the games didn't turn into blowouts.
"It's not something that's impossible," Roy said of a comeback by Colorado. "It's very possible. We're going into Jersey. We're playing very well on the road, and we're going to have to do exactly the same thing we did since the beginning of the playoffs. Maybe for some players it's just a game, but for us it's a big game."
With the cup in the house, it's even bigger than that.
Devils center Jason Arnott practiced on Wednesday, and there is a chance he will return to the lineup after missing Game 5 with an apparent concussion.
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