Work in Sports
DALLAS (Ticker) -- Joe Nieuwendyk tipped a point shot past Patrick Roy with 7:50 left in the first overtime as the Dallas Stars took control of the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Nieuwendyk skated from the left corner to the left of the crease where he deflected Richard Matvichuk's wrister under Roy's right arm for the game-winner.
"I saw the puck go back to the point and I was able to get a step on the defense on the way to the net," said Nieuwendyk, last year's Conn Smythe Trophy winner. "The puck found a lane and I was able to get a stick on it."
"It deflected right in front of me and I made the save, and after that I saw the puck hit the post and then cross the line," Roy said.
Nieuwendyk double-shifted often after Jamie Langenbrunner went down with a knee injury in the first period. Langenbrunner did not return and is not expected to play Game Six.
"We played three centers and we doubled up Joe much of the time because he was much of a factor the last half of the game," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The goal sent the raucous Reunion Arena crowd into a frenzy and put the Stars within a win of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals. They lead the series, three games to two.
"A minute after the game, our dressing room was very quiet," Hitchcock said. "We know what kind of battle we're getting into when we go back to Colorado for Game Six."
Ed Belfour outplayed Roy, stopping 29 shots, including two on a critical sequence in overtime. He kicked away Adam Deadmarsh's shot from the slot, then denied Joe Sakic, who tried to maneuver around the goaltender with the rebound.
"Eddie's playing outstanding and he's getting stronger as the game wears on," Dallas center Mike Modano said of Belfour, who is 16-14 lifetime in overtime playoff games.
Roy faced just five shots in each period and fell to 34-11 in overtime playoff games. His 34 wins are an NHL record.
"This series is about two of the greatest goalies in hockey history, and you need to have the perfect shot or tip to beat them," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said.
The Avalanche scored first but needed Milan Hejduk's goal 2:19 into the third period to tie it at 2-2. They held a 31-20 advantage in shots but continued their struggles on the power play, going 0-for-4.
Game Six is Thursday night at the Pepsi Center, where Colorado is 7-1 in the postseason. Dallas posted a 4-1 victory there on Sunday to even the series at two wins apiece.
The Avalanche led last year's conference finals three games to two, but the Stars won Game Six on the road and Game Seven at home before defeating Buffalo in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"We have to use that as an example for us that the series is not over," Roy said. "We have to battle extremely hard, and good things will happen if we keep going."
The teams continued a physical series, even in overtime, when referees Don Koharski and Rob Shick watched bodies fly all over the ice without calling a penalty.
Penalties were the story of the game until Hejduk scored. Dallas tallied the go-ahead goal on the power play after tying it seconds after a man advantage ended.
Brett Hull gave the Stars a 2-1 lead with 5:19 to play in the second period, rocketing a one-timer inside the left goalpost from the high slot for his third goal in the last two games and fourth of the series.
It also was his 85th career playoff goal, tying former New York Islanders great Mike Bossy for fifth all-time. Hull, a three-time 70-goal scorer, managed only 24 in the regular season.
"I don't know if I'm playing any different in the playoffs," he said. ... "More than anything, I think I just got a breath of fresh air when the playoffs began."
Hull's goal came with rookie center Serge Aubin in the penalty box for boarding, one of three minor penalties during the period for the Avalanche.
Another was by Deadmarsh, who was called for high-sticking at 2:19. Just seven seconds after Deadmarsh skated out of the box, Jere Lehtinen scored to tie it at 1-1.
Lehtinen got to a loose puck in front of the net off a shot by Hull, kicked it to his backhand and flipped it past Roy for his first goal of the postseason.
After a penalty-free first period, the Avalanche drew the first minor of the second as Modano was called for holding the stick at 1:19. But Deadmarsh's penalty negated the power play.
The Avalanche had two more power plays the rest of the period -- from 8:52 to 12:16 -- but did not score. They also failed on their only advantage of the third, dropping to 3-for-27 in the series.
Colorado dominated a hard-hitting, fast-paced first period, holding Dallas without a shot in the first 12 1/2 minutes, but scored on only one of several scoring chances.
"There's definitely frustration given the number of opportunities we had and weren't able to bury," said Sakic, the Avalanche's captain who has just one goal in the last 12 games.
"They took off like a rocket at the start of the game, and we had to raise our level of play to meet their's," Hitchcock said.
After missing the net on three opportunities in the opening seven minutes, the Avalanche were robbed of a goal at 10:21 when Matvichuk reached behind Belfour to swipe away a puck headed for the net.
"It's just a matter of getting positioning in front of the net and the puck just hit me," Matvichuk said. "(Dave) Manson, (Sylvain) Cote and the entire defense played great, and we know defense and goaltending is what wins championships."
The Avalanche broke through at 12:11 when Jon Klemm lifted a loose puck over Belfour from the low right faceoff circle after Peter Forsberg knocked over Roy and Stephane Yelle worked the puck to the net.
Dallas had gone an NHL-record 12 consecutive home playoff games without allowing a first-period goal before Klemm scored his second of the postseason.