Avs' Drury scores in OT to beat Stars
Posted: Saturday May 29, 1999 12:16 PM
DENVER (AP) -- Helmets flew, tempers flared and bodies tumbled head-over-feet before Chris Drury put an end to one of the most physical and entertaining games of the Western Conference finals.
In a game they desperately needed, the Avalanche overcame injuries to two key players to tie the best-of-7 series at two games apiece and send it to Dallas for Game 5 on Sunday.
"I'm really sore after this one," said Colorado's Shjon Podein, who scored his first goal of the playoffs in the first period. "Everyone was coming at each other with reckless abandon."
Brett Hull tied the game for Dallas with 3:53 left in regulation, and both teams squandered power-play chances in overtime before Drury came through with his fourth goal of the playoffs.
The score came after Sandis Ozolinsh kept the puck in the Dallas zone and found Drury alone on the left side. Drury one-timed the pass over the right shoulder of Ed Belfour to set off a raucous celebration.
"It was just a great play by Ozo. All I had to do was fire it up," Drury said. "I had a few chances [earlier]. The coaching staff was yelling, 'Get it up. Get it up.' Finally I listened and got it up."
The tone of the game was set early when Colorado rookie Milan Hejduk had his right collarbone broken on a hard check by Richard Matvichuk. The hard hitting and post-whistle mixes continued throughout the game. One highlight: Colorado's Adam Deadmarsh did a full somersault over Belfour while charging in for a rebound late in the overtime.
"They're going to play aggressive, they're going to play very physical, and it was our job to match that," Dallas forward Mike Modano said. "We had to absorb the hits and take the hits in order to make the play."
Belfour, coming off a 3-0 shutout in Game 3, was brilliant after giving up two goals in the game's first five minutes. He finished with 42 saves, while Colorado's Patrick Roy stopped 43 shots for his 109th career playoff victory.
"Our players stepped up to the plate and went swinging," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "We were very fortunate. It was an excellent hockey game and we managed to get the last shot on net."
Dallas, playing its sixth overtime game of the playoffs, failed to convert a power play in the overtime, and then killed a Colorado power play a minute later. The Stars have killed 55 of 60 penalties in the postseason.
"You've got two teams that are maxing out," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There's nothing left in the tank for anybody. That's what you hope for at this stage. It was just a tremendous hockey game. I don't know what else to say."
Hull, quiet for most of the series, tied the game 2-2 when he picked up a loose puck in the Avalanche zone and scored on a low slap shot that narrowly zipped through Roy's legs.
"I thought my goal was going to put us over the top," Hull said. "That was what Joe [Nieuwendyk] and I were saying. I thought that goal was going to be a big one to swing the momentum our way."
The Avalanche, who are 7-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods, had a great chance to end the game in regulation, but Joe Sakic could not convert Theo Fleury's pass on a 2-on-0 rush with 1:02 left.
Sakic responded to a personal challenge from Roy, scoring for the first time in 11 games for Colorado, which improved to 3-5 at home in the playoffs. The Avalanche are 7-1 on the road, with the lone loss coming in Game 2.
"We got the best two-of-three and two are home for us," Belfour said. "We've been in this situation before, and we have to take advantage of that."
The Avalanche, playing without injured forwards Valeri Kamensky and Hejduk, ended their 85-minute scoring drought with early goals, forcing the Stars to abandon their tight-checking, conservative style.
Dallas nearly pulled off its fifth come-from-behind victory in the playoffs as Jamie Langenbrunner scored on a power-play goal at 9:07 of the second period to cut Colorado's lead to 2-1.
Sakic ended his scoring drought on a wrist shot from the slot that went over Belfour's left shoulder 4:06 into the game, and Podein flipped a shot over the same shoulder 48 seconds later.
Kamensky sprained his right wrist in Game 3, and Hejduk left after breaking his collarbone on a hard check midway through the first period. Hartley said he would miss the rest of the playoffs.
Hejduk, a strong rookie of the year candidate, had six goals and five assists in the playoffs.
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