DALLAS (Ticker) -- The Dallas Stars turned back the clock to improve their future.
John MacLean scored the tying goal with 4:22 left in regulation and set up Kirk Muller's game-winner 8:01 into the third straight overtime of this Western Conference quarterfinal series as the Stars rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
MacLean and Muller are two of Dallas' legion of 30-something veterans. But the former New Jersey Devils' teammates combined to give the Stars a three games to two lead heading into Saturday night's contest in Edmonton.
"We never really played a lot together back then," MacLean said. "We're just having fun right now, but we don't want to lose sight of the fact we need one more game."
Exiled to Manitoba of the International Hockey League by the New York Rangers earlier this season, MacLean was rescued by Dallas on February 5. He returned the favor on Thursday night, getting the heel of his stick on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle and beating a scrambling Tommy Salo to tie it.
"You just ask for an opportunity and I just wanted to make the most of it," MacLean said. "One of the reasons I came here was I still thought that I could play."
Just over eight minutes into the extra period, MacLean chased down his own dump-in behind the net and flicked a backhanded pass in front. The puck hit Edmonton's Doug Weight and Jason Smith before Muller wristed it past Salo for his first goal in 30 games since December 20.
"We talked about getting pucks on the net and Johnny and Keaner (Mike Keane) got a turnover. Johnny threw it out to me and sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't," Muller said.
Dallas held Edmonton to five shots over the first two periods, but the Oilers erupted for three goals in a 2:57 span early in the third to take the lead.
But these familiar postseason foes inexorably headed to their third straight overtime, something that had not occurred since the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals.
"I thought we overcame a terrible first two periods," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. "It looked like we had stage fright tonight. We were nervous, but we played a heckuva a third period and put us in position to win."
Anson Carter scored on Edmonton's first shot of the third period at 2:32. While falling, rookie Mike Comrie -- the overtime hero in Game Four -- made a backhanded pass between his legs that set up Carter for his third goal of the series.
Doug Weight tied it 32 seconds later with a controversial goal. After escaping a suspension for his hit on Richard Matvichuk in Game Four, the Oilers' captain had a couple of jabs at a rebound of Janne Niinimaa's shot before the puck trickled past goaltender Ed Belfour.
"They had a couple of good chances that they scored on, but the other one, the ref should've blown the whistle," Belfour said. "There was a penalty and I touched (the puck) and they should've blown it. They actually blew it too late."
Reunion Arena already was stunned when defenseman Eric Brewer put Edmonton ahead at 5:29. Just 50 seconds after Game Three hero Benoit Hogue was penalized for slashing, Brewer flipped a shot from the top of the right circle that made it through traffic and eluded Belfour. It was his first career playoff goal.
But Dallas was bailed out by its "Grumpy Old Men."
"They get very offended when people tell them they're old and they're not able to compete," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "All three guys, this is their time of the year to compete. This is when they shine. They love it."
Jere Lehtinen opened the scoring for Dallas at 6:02 of the first period, finishing off a give-and-go with Brett Hull. Jamie Langenbrunner doubled the lead 72 seconds into the second after Shaun Van Allen intercepted Ryan Smyth's bad clearing attempt.
Through two periods, the Oilers were being outshot, 22-5.
"We had no spunk, no grit and weren't battling hard. We were just going through the motions," Carter said.
All five games in this series and 19 of the last 26 playoff meetings have been decided by one goal.