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Dafoe Defies Penguins In Tie

Pittsburgh's Jarmoir Jagr would have rather slept in Saturday than play in a scoreless tie against the Boston Bruins.

"If I knew it was going to be 0-0, I would still be home asleep right now," Jagr said. "I don't know how exciting it can be for the fans. They go home right now and what do they talk about?"

Boston's Byron Dafoe stopped 26 shots and Pittsburgh rookie Jean-Sebastian Aubin posted his first NHL shutout. The Bruins got only 18 shots in 65 minutes and were focused almost entirely on goal prevention. They were especially diligent against Jagr, the NHL's leading scorer with 19 points.

"There's a reason why he's leading the league," Dafoe said. "We didn't give him a sniff and that's a credit to our defense. You've got to be aware of him at all times. You always have to know where No. 68 is. Fortunately, it's not like when you had 68 and 66 (Mario Lemieux) out there. That made it real tough in the old days."

Dafoe has three shutouts in 11 games this season and nine for his career as the Bruins played their first scoreless tie on the road since March 11, 1970 at Chicago.

"He's our No. 1 guy," Boston coach Pat Burns said. "We considered maybe going with (backup) Robbie Tallas but we went with our instincts."

Aubin appeared in his fifth NHL game and made his third start.

With Tom Barrasso sidelines by a pulled groin and Peter Skudra out with an ankle sprain, Aubin made just his third career start. He rebounded from a shaky NHL debut that saw him allow two goals in less than 12 minutes at Tampa Bay.

"He's gone five periods now without allowing a goal," Penguins coach Kevin Constantine said. "It looks like he's regained the confidence he had in training camp. That's exactly what we thought would happen and it did."

The Bruins had two power play opportunities in the game's first 10 minutes but generated just one shot on goal in those two chances.

Bruins center Jason Allison stopped one of Pittsburgh's best scoring chances late in the second period. Dafoe was out of position and left the net open but Allison blocked Robert Lang's 20-foot shot from the left side.

Pittsburgh had two scoreless games last season. Before that, they hadn't played a 0-0 game since Dec. 4, 1982 against Philadelphia.

Despite rules changes and a commitment to calling obstruction penalties, the trend of minimal offense seems to be continuing.

"It's a little bit of everything," Constantine said. "You have bigger players on a small rink. It's the quality of goaltending. It's video tape and advance scouting that have probably improved the coaching. It's a combination of all those things."

Or it could be teams that emphasize defense first.

"That's the way Boston plays" Jagr shrugged. "You're not going to get much against them."

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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