Work in Sports
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Those old legs still have a little left.
Sudden death was anything but for the Dallas Stars, who avoided elimination in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals with a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Mike Modano's goal 6:21 into triple overtime.
Modano capped a heroic effort by slipping behind defenseman Vladimir Malakhov and getting the shaft of his stick on Brett Hull's flip from the right point, deflecting the puck between goaltender Martin Brodeur's pads on the game's 89th shot.
"Brett was able to -- his first attempt, I think, hit his shin or stick, came back to him. He stuck with the play. As it came through the next time, I was able to get my stick on it," said Modano. "It hit my shaft and off the post and in."
"Modano was coming in, flying through the middle, going to the net. And he just hit it through mid-air, (it) went through my legs, I think. I am not sure," Brodeur said.
With the defending Stanley Cup champions facing elimination, Modano double-shifted throughout the marathon -- the fourth-longest game in Finals history. He led all skaters with 60 shifts totaling 43 minutes, 37 seconds. The goal was his first of the series and forced a sixth game on Saturday in Dallas.
The Stars still have an uphill road to club as they try to become only the second team in Stanley Cup Finals history to rally from a three games to one deficit.
"We get down 3-1 and the team's too old, we can't keep up and we can't play. I think we proved that to be wrong tonight," said Dallas right wing Mike Keane. "We're a long ways away. We have to go out and win a couple more."
"For us, it was Game Seven," added teammate Guy Carbonneau. "Now we're going back Saturday and it's still going to be Game Seven. And we have to play the same way."
The Devils were extended to overtime for the first time in these playoffs and their postseason OT losing streak reached seven games, one short of the NHL record. The Stars played three overtimes for the third time in two years after capturing the Cup last June on Brett Hull's controversial triple-OT goal at Buffalo.
"There is some momentum, but the momentum is more that we have been here before," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We know this feeling of an endurance test, and we have been here."
Ed Belfour stopped 48 shots for his 11th career playoff shutout, improving to 10-1 in his last 11 postseason games following a loss.
"I felt strong tonight. I was seeing the puck well and I had some good breaks. I think you've got to have that," he said. "It's just a real good feeling, satisfaction, and that we have a chance. We have a chance to go back home. We have another opportunity, and we're looking forward to it."
Brodeur matched him until Modano's deflection and finished with 40 saves.
"The position that we were in, we knew if we had a goal we are winning the Stanley Cup," he said. "I think it was a fun time. After maybe the second (overtime), it kind of got a little tiring, but things happen. We played well. We had a lot of chances. Eddie Belfour was magnificent out there."
In the absence of television timeouts, the pace slowed and the chances dropped in the second overtime, despite the teams combining for 20 shots -- the most of any period in the game.
Brodeur came up big three times to prolong the longest scoreless game in Stanley Cup Finals history. He stopped defenseman Derian Hatcher's partial breakaway with his blocker two minutes into the period and got his stick on Keane's shot from the left faceoff circle five minutes later.
With just over four minutes left in double overtime, Brodeur somehow got his outstretched right arm on Keane's rebound as Stars defenseman Dave Manson raised his stick in anticipation of the game-winner.
In between, Alexander Mogilny broke in alone on Belfour, who made a glove save midway through the period.
"I felt he was going to do it right there," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "But unfortunately, Belfour was perfect tonight. ... When he plays like that, goals are going to be tough to come by. But Marty was spectacular, too. It was a classic goaltenders' game."
The teams played a fast-paced first overtime, with the Devils getting most of the chances and outshooting Dallas, 10-5.
Bobby Holik was in on many of the opportunities. Four minutes into the extra period, his centering pass from along the goal line set off a scramble, with the puck deflecting just wide of the left goalpost.
Claude Lemieux's centering feed 4 1/2 minutes later hopped over Holik's stick in front. Less than a minute after, Sergei Brylin was left alone in the slot, but Belfour appeared to get the shaft of his stick on that shot.
Patrik Elias used a burst of speed to get around Hatcher on the left side and cut to the net, but Belfour caught his backhander in the midsection with 2:10 to go. Off the ensuing scramble, defenseman Scott Stevens fired a shot from the top of the left circle that hit the outside of the net.
"Eddie played well," Keane said. "He's a very proud person. The whole team's not going to give this thing up early. We know the Cup (was) in the building and until they win, it's ours. We don't want to give it up. It motivates us."
Joe Nieuwendyk, Hull and Scott Thornton had Dallas' best chances in the first overtime.
New Jersey nearly broke through early in the third period, but Scott Niedermayer could not handle Elias' pass on the doorstep.
The Devils held Dallas without a shot for the first 8:41 of the third before Brodeur pinned Nieuwendyk's wraparound attempt at the left post.
Brodeur stopped Grant Marshall from the low slot moments later and caught Jere Lehtinen's backhander in his chest at the midpoint of the period.
Belfour kicked out his left pad to stop rookie Scott Gomez off a 2-on-1 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, and Brodeur dodged a bullet less than a minute later when Lehtinen shot just wide of the right post off a feed from Hull.
The Devils failed to get off a shot on their third power play of the game after rookie Brenden Morrow took a questionable tripping penalty with 6:15 to play. Holik had his fourth solid chance to break the scoreless tie when he backhanded a shot from the bottom of the right circle with 3:09 remaining off a botched 4-on-2. But Belfour gobbled it up with his glove.
Brodeur came up with a pair of dazzling saves in the second period to keep the game scoreless. With just under 16 minutes remaining, he sprawled and kicked up his left pad at the last second to deny defenseman Sylvain Cote on a rebound.
Eleven minutes later, with the Stars on the power play, Brodeur made a virtually identical stop that left Lehtinen shaking his head.
While Brodeur was denying Dallas, Holik had two outstanding chances to put New Jersey in front. Midway through the period, he stickhandled down the slot but flicked a wrist shot off the outside of the right post.
The Devils were on the power play following a phantom high-sticking penalty on Lehtinen when Holik cut down the edge of the slot and got a perfect cross-ice pass from Elias. But Belfour kicked out his right pad and gave Holik no room on the rebound with 2:08 to play.
"I'd rather not talk about it because there's nothing I can do about it now," Holik said of his chances. "It's just an unfortunate thing. You have all these opportunities and just nothing to show for it -- post, a couple of great saves by Belfour. That could have been the game, but it's not."
The Stars recorded 11 shots in a scoreless first period and outshot New Jersey for only the second time in the Finals. But the Devils had the better scoring chances.
Belfour squeezed his pads to stop Jay Pandolfo's redirection just over two minutes into the game. Brodeur had to be alert 90 seconds later as Richard Matvichuk's slap shot from the left point deflected off Stevens.
Belfour made two quick saves on Petr Sykora early in the period, but Marshall -- benched for the previous three games -- had three tries from the right side before Brodeur pinned the puck against the post with just over 11 minutes to go in the period.
The Devils had the game's first power play after Hatcher was penalized for hooking at 11:01, but Holik evened things up 42 seconds later when he interfered with Matvichuk behind the Dallas net.
Gomez deflected Brylin's wrister into Belfour's chest with 4 1/2 minutes left and Belfour denied Elias on a partial breakaway seconds later.
Dallas' best chance of the period came with 1:40 left when Modano was alone in the left circle but could not handle Sergei Zubov's backhanded pass. New Jersey had a chance in the final minute, but Holik flubbed a shot off a 2-on-1 with Elias.