EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- Benoit Hogue got Ed Belfour off the hook in a big way.
Hogue scored 19:48 into overtime as the Dallas Stars squandered a two-goal lead in the final 63 seconds of regulation before pulling out a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game Three of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Making his postseason debut as a replacement for the injured Joe Nieuwendyk, Hogue got to a rebound of Brett Hull's blast from the top of the right faceoff circle and scored from the low slot to give Dallas a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I only had three shifts in overtime and I really didn't play much at all tonight. So I was kind of surprised to be out there with two minutes left in the overtime," Hogue said. "I'm confident that I won't make mistakes in that situation, so I just keep going forward, and it paid off."
Three years ago, Hogue also scored in overtime in Edmonton in Game Three of the conference semifinals. It also broke a 1-1 tie in the series, which was won by the Stars in five games.
"This was a little different, but, hey, they're both winning goals," Hogue said. "This one was from a rebound. But back in '98, it was an attempt to clear the zone by (Janne) Niinimaa that ended up right on my stick. They don't ask you how you scored, they just know you did it, so they don't have to be pretty."
"He always seems to come up with something interesting and special. He seems to play well even if he's been out of the lineup for a while," added Stars center Mike Modano. "For a guy like that who's been through what he's been through, it's nice to see him make a big impact like that."
The Oilers had pulled goalie Tommy Salo for an extra attacker and Belfour was just over a minute away from his 12th career playoff shutout when he strayed from the net to track down a dump-in in the right corner.
"We're not concerned that Eddie comes out to play the puck, as long as he actually plays it and gets it the hell out of there," said Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock. "He's got a freight train on the tracks (in Laraque) and he tried to change the play he was going to make and got stuck in the corner."
With 6.4 seconds left in regulation and Salo again off for an extra attacker, Rem Murray tipped defenseman Eric Brewer's wrister from the blue line inside the left goalpost as the Skyreach Centre erupted.
But Edmonton could not maintain the momentum and suffered its sixth straight playoff overtime loss.
"As long as I've been involved in playoff hockey, I haven't seen too many comebacks like that," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We just wanted to finish the storybook ending. We felt if we had scored in overtime, it would have been a very devastating goal for Dallas."
Salo stopped 37 shots while Belfour made 26 saves and won for the 10th time in his last 11 playoff starts following a loss.
"If that had been a younger guy, I think this would've crushed him, absolutely crushed him. Yet Eddie goes out there and makes four or five great saves in overtime," Hitchcock said.
Fans at Skyreach Centre began taunting Belfour during the the U.S. national anthem, but Dallas defenseman Sergei Zubov silenced the crowd 3:06 into the opening period. He came off the bench, took a pass from Modano at the top of the right circle and rifled a low one-timer that beat Salo to the stick side.
"They really came at us early and had a strong presence along the boards. At times, we got the puck and put it up the middle of the ice, and that's what led directly to their first goal," said MacTavish.
Playing with the lead, the Stars blanketed the Oilers, holding them to 10 shots over the first two periods. One of Edmonton's better scoring chances came on the power play 2 1/2 minutes into the game when Belfour turned away rookie Mike Comrie on a 2-on-none.
Double-shifting throughout, Modano gave Dallas a 2-0 cushion with a power-play goal 5:51 into the third. After Brewer failed to clear the puck along the left boards, Jamie Langenbrunner slid a pass to Modano, who was unchecked at the bottom of the right circle and flipped a one-timer into a half-empty net for his second goal of the series.
The Oilers had a goal waved off in the third period when referee Mark Faucette ruled the whistle blew before Laraque poked the puck past Belfour off a rebound of Doug Weight's backhander.
That set the stage for the frenetic final 63 seconds of regulation, which conjured memories of Game Three of the 1997 conference quarterfinals. The Oilers scored three goals in the final four minutes of the third period and posted a 4-3 victory over the Stars on Kelly Buchberger's overtime goal.
But Hogue, in his third stint with Dallas, wrote a different ending on Sunday.
"Happiness and heartache. That pretty much spells NHL playoff hockey," MacTavish said. "And we got the latter tonight."
"It's never easy when you lose," added Oilers center Todd Marchant. "This was a frustrating loss, just like Game One. We lost in overtime again. But we came back hard and won Game Two. And there's no reason we can't do the same thing on Tuesday night and go back down to Dallas, tied up, 2-2."