2001 Stanley Cup Finals

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NHL Hockey Scoreboard: Recap
Recap | Box Score | Today's Scoreboard
Edmonton 2, Dallas 1
Posted: Wednesday April 18, 2001 03:57 AM
Dallas Stars
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Edmonton Oilers
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EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- In his fourth career playoff game, Mike Comrie made quite an impact.

After helping draw a penalty, Comrie scored 17:19 into overtime as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars, 2-1, evening their Western Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece.

A 20-year-old rookie center who started the season in juniors, Comrie went without a point in the first three games of the series before coming up with the biggest goal of his young career.

Working behind the net, Ryan Smyth actually had the puck slide off his stick to Comrie in the slot, where he chipped it past goaltender Ed Belfour to send the Skyreach Centre crowd into hysterics.

"Smitty (Ryan Smyth) and A.C. (Anson Carter) were battling hard in the corner and I figured I better get out front in case something bounces out there," Comrie said. "Smitty made a great play to dig it out and I was able to hit it on the bounce and bang it in."

Moments before the goal, Comrie gave the Oilers the power play that led to game-winner when he was clipped with a high stick by Jamie Langenbrunner. Ironically, Langenbrunner scored in overtime for the Stars in Game One.

Stars coach Ken Hitcock did not agree with the penalty.

"I wasn't surprised by the call but there was a lot worse stuff happening on the ice, a lot worse," he said. "It's unfortunate it gets settled on a power play. You would hope that we would get to decide it 5-on-5."

It was second straight game and third time in the series that the Oilers and Stars needed overtime. Edmonton lost Games One and Three in the extra session and had dropped its last six playoff overtime games.

"The speed of the game was great. I think the fans got their money's worth, that's for sure," Comrie said. "It's a great series to be involved in."

"Both teams really wanted the game. For them it was a chance to go home with an opportunity to close out the series but our crowd was really great," Oilers right wing Mike Grier said. "It's something we really feed off of."

Game Five is Thursday in Dallas.

The Stars, who had little pressure in overtime, had their best chance with 9:06 left but Tommy Salo turned aside Jere Lehtinen's backhander from the right faceoff circle through traffic.

Salo had his strongest game of the series and finished with 34 saves, including five in overtime.

Continually frustrated in the previous overtimes in the series, it looked like the Oilers would be again on Tuesday when defenseman Tom Poti rang a shot off the goalpost with 4:13 remaining in the extra session.

Edmonton had to feel fortunate the game actually reached overtime. With under five seconds left in regulation, Mike Modano nearly won it for Dallas when he blasted a one-timer off the right goalpost from the slot.

Salo carried a shutout into the third period, stopping 17 shots. But with his team being badly outplayed in the third, Salo lost that bid with 6:45 left.

It was the line known as "Grumpy Old Men" that pulled Dallas even. Kirk Muller made a quick pass from behind the net to Mike Keane in front, where he beat Salo for his second goal of the series. Keane was left uncovered down low by Janne Niinimaa.

In their biggest game of the season, the Oilers lost captain Doug Weight 10:50 into the first period after he received a major penalty and game misconduct for checking Stars defenseman Richard Matvichuk from behind. Matvichuk lost his helmet on the play and needed help to get off the ice. He was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return.

"I didn't hit him from behind. He didn't go in head first," Weight said. "There was no danger of that. It's just one of those things that happened. You're not out to injure people, that's why the rule was put in."

Stars captain Derian Hatcher thought it was a dirty hit.

"I'm sure they'll (NHL) look at it," he said. "I've been through this process before and he had lots of time, he did what he did with intent and he knew what he was doing."

The Oilers came up big on the ensuing penalty kill, holding the Stars without a quality chance. Dallas went 0-for-6 on the power play.

Edmonton finally broke through for the game's first goal with 5:36 left in the second period. Carter took a quick pass from Comrie from along the left boards and skated in on Belfour, where he beat the netminder for his second goal of the series.

Taunted for much of the night by the crowd, Belfour finished with 30 saves.


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