The bounces finally went the other way for Dave Babych.
The Vancouver Canucks defenseman had inadvertently deflected three shots past his own goaltender in the Stanley Cup final before finding the New York Rangers' net.When he did it was with the winning goal in Game 5, a 6-3 victory that kept the Canucks alive 3-2 and sent best-of-7 series back to the Pacific Coliseum on Saturday night.
"It's a great feeling," Babych said. "I've been trying to get a little more involved in the play."
Babych let a wrist shot by Mark Messier tip off his leg in Game 5 to tie the score 3-3 in the third period as the Rangers pressed to win the Cup for the first time in 54 years.
Moments later, Babych joined a rush and took a pass from Pavel Bure before beating New York goaltender Mike Richter on the short side.
Babych had shots by Ranger forward Steve Larmer deflect off him and past Kirk McLean in Games 3 and 4 at the Coliseum, goals that helped stake the Rangers to comfortable leads in the final period.
"Kirk just can't seem to save those that go off me," Babych said with a huge grin. "But we got more than they did (in Game 5)."
The Canucks have won just six of 11 home playoff games this spring while compiling an impressive 8-3 road record.
"About that jinx or curse, I don't think that really matters," Babych said in reference to the Rangers' long title drought. "They have a lot of experience. They know how to win, and they're going to come out the next game and try to put all the guns to us."
Babych hopes the energy of the Vancouver fans rubs off on the Canucks after the team's fourth transcontinental flight of the series.
Geoff Courtnall ended a 14-game scoring drought in Game 5 with two goals for the Canucks, and Bure added two more.
Courtnall had scored only once since his overtime goal in Game 5 of the first round against Calgary that allowed the Canucks to stage a remarkable comeback against the Flames, winning the last three games in overtime.
No team has come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals since Toronto in 1942 when the Maple Leafs won the last four games against Detroit.
Should the Canucks prevail again, Game 7 would be Tuesday in New York.
"For our guys to bounce back like that - more than the thrill of it all - it makes me really proud," Canucks coach Pat Quinn said. "We got a chance to fight again."
McLean said the Canucks must continue playing "desperate hockey, every shift, every period" to prolong the series a second time.
"We can use this as a confidence-builder," McLean said after winning for the first time in four games. "We came back (versus Calgary) against a team similar to this one with a lot of firepower. It's a little different situation when there's a Stanley Cup on the line. We just have to win another two big games."