Avs light up Stars in OT
DENVER ” Alex Tanguay scored 1:09 into overtime Wednesday night to give the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars and a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
Ian Laperriere assisted on Tanguay’s second goal of the game, which ruined a solid performance by Dallas goaltender Marty Turco, who looked for most of the night like he was going to reward coach Dave Tippett’s decision to stick with him in net.
But he allowed the tying goal with less than a minute left in the third period, then gave up the game-winner just over a minute into the extra period. It was Dallas’ second straight overtime loss.
Turco had surrendered 10 goals as the second-seeded Stars lost the first two games at home, but rather than replace him with Johan Hedberg, Tippett declared Turco was still his guy.
“We’ve got to find a way to win and he needs to be a big part of it,” Tippett said.
They nearly did.
Turco stopped 25 shots but fell to 1-7 in the playoffs against the Avs, who have scored 32 goals against him in the postseason.
Sergei Zubov’s 5-on-3 goal from the right circle with 15 seconds left in the second period broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Stars their first lead of the night, which held up behind Dallas’ spectacular defense until Andrew Brunette’s power-play goal with 56 seconds left in the third period.
The teams also played an overtime game Monday night in Dallas, when Joe Sakic’s tip-in won it for Colorado, which will try for the sweep at home Friday night.
Only once in franchise history have the Stars recovered from losing the first two games of a playoff series, in 1968, when the team was based in Minneapolis.
Stars defenseman Jon Klemm, a key member of Colorado’s first Stanley Cup team, tied it at 2 midway through the second period when he took Antti Miettinen’s pass from behind the net and slapped it past Jose Theodore from the slot. Zubov’s go-ahead goal came with Tanguay and Milan Hejduk in the penalty box for hooking.
Sakic scored his 19th point in 22 career playoff games against the Stars when he rammed in the puck from right in front of the crease on a power play for a 1-0 lead after Turco had stopped a shot by Brett Clark.
Dallas tied it at 1 on a short-handed goal 5 minutes later when Stu Barnes broke free and beat Theodore over his left shoulder.
Tanguay’s first goal came when he skated in front of Turco and deflected Hejduk’s shot from the right circle into the net for a 2-1 Colorado lead with just over a minute left in the first period. The puck bounced off Tanguay’s shoulder, then glanced off defenseman Janne Niinimaa and into the net.
Despite losing twice at American Airlines Arena to the seventh-seeded Avalanche, the Stars held their heads high in Denver, a confidence borne of a franchise-best 25-12-4 road record, second only to Detroit’s 31 road wins and a mark that included two 3-2 shootout wins at the Pepsi Center.
The Stars have never overcome a 3-0 playoff deficit and haven’t overcome a 2-0 deficit since the 1968 NHL quarterfinals, when they were the Minneapolis North Stars and came back to beat Los Angeles 4-3.
Notes: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with sponsors at the Pepsi Center before the game. Did he have some fence-mending to do over last year’s wiped-out season? “I think that all of our constituent groups, most importantly our fans, but also our business partners, have been incredibly supportive,” he said. “Everybody associated with the game understood what our problems were and they wanted them fixed, as we did.” … Colorado improved to 46-14 in the playoffs when Sakic scores a goal and 72-26 when he records at least one point.
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