Work in Sports
Missed opportunities doom Dallas
Posted: Sunday June 04, 2000 09:38 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- Up a goal and owning a two-man advantage, the Dallas Stars were in position to take control of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals and maybe even the series.
But the Stars failed to get off a shot during 49 seconds of 5-on-3 action late in the first period, then failed to score the rest of the night and wound up losing 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
"We really could've put the nail in them if we'd scored on that," said Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team also wasted two more stretches with extra skaters in the final 4:15 to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Added center Mike Modano: "We had our chances. Some of our decisions weren't very good tonight."
In losing at home for just the second time in the last 13 playoff games, the defending champion Stars gave back the home-ice advantage they'd gained by winning Game 2 in New Jersey.
It would've been understandable if Dallas' power play unit was rusty after only getting one opportunity the first two games, but the Stars cashed in their first chance at 13:08 of the first period.
Sylvain Cote found the puck on his stick courtesy of a poor clearing pass by Devils captain Scott Stevens, then fired it into a virtually wide open net to give Dallas a 1-0 lead and some much-needed momentum.
Just 1:05 later, the Stars were on the power play again, but struggled to get the puck in front of the net against the Devils' penalty-killing unit that had been successful on 49 of its previous 52 attempts coming into the game.
Then came a hard cross-check by Claude Lemieux into the back of Modano for the 5-on-3.
The last time Dallas had a two-man edge was the second period of Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. Hitchcock used his time out to stress the importance of the opportunity and Brett Hull responded with a game-tying goal. Although Dallas lost the game, it was a key moment.
This time, there was no timeout. And no goal. Not even a shot on goal.
"That was the turning point in the game," New Jersey defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "If Dallas goes up 2-0, it's a pretty big hole to climb out of."
The Stars had one blast that went wide of the net, but the Devils got the rebound and cleared it out of the zone. Lemieux's penalty continued once the first one ended, but Dallas still couldn't put pressure on New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur.
"They seemed to control the play," Modano said.
"We got a few good looks, but they blocked a few and they didn't get through to Brodeur," center Joe Nieuwendyk said.
About 30 seconds after the penalty kill, the Devils tied the game when Jason Arnott slid a puck under Ed Belfour after he left the crease.
"That goal took the wind out of our sails," Hitchcock said.
Belfour kept the game close with 29 saves and several spectacular plays, although a second goal went in on a shot by Petr Sykora that popped in and out of the pocket of Belfour's glove midway through the second period.
"That goal deflated us," Stars captain Derian Hatcher said. "We never really got it back."
A delay of game penalty on Brodeur gave Dallas a final power play with 4:15 left. The Stars got just one good look.
Then, with 1:19 left, Dallas went with an empty net. Hull nearly put in his fourth goal of the series, but Brodeur got his body on it and covered the rebound before Jere Lehtinen could get to it.
"It's tough to say whether we got enough chances," Hatcher said. "It doesn't really matter. We lost the game."