Stars get past Roy in third period, force Game 7
Posted: Wednesday June 02, 1999 03:17 PM
DENVER (AP) -- When they had to, the Dallas Stars certainly played like the best team in the NHL.
The Stars made sure there would be a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals, forcing a one-game showdown in Dallas with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored two goals in the final 20 minutes as the Stars, playing more like the team that won the Presidents' Trophy with the best record in the NHL, pulled away in the third period.
Game 7 will be Friday night in Dallas, where the Stars are 6-2 in the playoffs -- with both losses coming in this series. Colorado is 3-6 at home but 8-1 on the road.
The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup finals against the Eastern Conference champion Buffalo Sabres.
It's only fitting that the wild Western Conference finals will be decided by one last game.
"I don't see any advantage between these two teams," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Every game goes down to the last 10 minutes. It's unbelievable. It's up for grabs."
Langenbrunner said the determined Stars "just stayed with it."
"I was the fortunate one that got the bounce at the end, but we played hard all night and got to live another day," he said.
The Avalanche missed an excellent chance to advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in four seasons.
"There's no easy road to the Stanley Cup," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "This round is a classic example. It's going down to the seventh game and we like our chances. We're a good road team, and I think we'll be there."
With the score tied at 1, the third period took on a sudden-death atmosphere, and the Stars applied the pressure when Langenbrunner poked home a rebound on Joe Nieuwendyk's shot from the slot at 6:49.
Langenbrunner, who had 12 goals all season, has eight in the playoffs and three game-winners. His latest prompted Colorado goalie Patrick Roy to throw his stick in disgust as the Stars celebrated in front of him.
"I made a great first save,," Roy said. "I think it hit a stick and bounced back under me, and then the stick of Langenbrunner was under me and I could not put my pad on the ice. He just pushed it into the empty net."
After failing to convert a breakaway chance 10 minutes later, Langenbrunner added another goal with a wide-open flip on a power play with 2:45 remaining.
"The third goal was a sigh of relief," Hitchcock said. "I finally got my hands out of my pockets."
Hitchcock exhaled further when Richard Matvichuk, whom the Avalanche have accused of dirty play throughout the series, added his first goal of the playoffs to put the game out of reach with 2:31 left.
The third-period flurry was nothing new for Dallas, which has outscored its opponent 23-9 in the final 20 minutes. The Stars outshot Colorado 15-8 in the last period and 40-27 for the game.
"As much as we didn't want it to happen, Game 6 doesn't matter anymore," said Colorado defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh. "It's what we're going to do in game 7."
Roy finished with 36 saves, but it wasn't enough as Dallas avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season.
"I thought we came close to a perfect game," Nieuwendyk said. "We gave them opportunities, but not like we did the last couple of games. That helped us to play disciplined while we were able to maintain some offense at their end."
For the third straight game, the Stars gave up a goal in the final minute of a period.
Lemieux, who had gone eight games without a goal, was drifting in front of the net when he deflected Adam Foote's shot from the right point. The puck dived sharply toward the ice and went between Belfour's legs with just 35 seconds left in the first period.
Colorado's lead could have been bigger, but Ozolinsh hit the left post two minutes before Lemieux's goal.
Dallas, which has lost five straight series when trailing three games to two, tied the game 1-1 at 1:55 of the second period when Jere Lehtinen rebounded a shot in the slot and beat Roy over his left shoulder.
The Avalanche played without rookie forward Milan Hejduk, who scored six goals in the playoffs before breaking his collarbone in Game 4 of the Dallas series.
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