2001 Stanley Cup Finals
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NHL Hockey Scoreboard: Recap
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St. Louis 4, Dallas 1
Posted: Friday May 04, 2001 02:41 AM
Dallas Stars
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ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- For the first time in three years, the Western Conference will have a new representative in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The St. Louis Blues completed a surprising sweep of the two-time defending Western Conference champion Dallas Stars, 4-1, as Roman Turek once again starred against his former team.

St. Louis advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 1986 and will face Colorado or Los Angeles.

Turek was a huge reason why the Blues romped as he stopped 32 shots in this one and allowed only six goals in the series. A former backup to Ed Belfour in Dallas, Turek improved to 7-0-2 against his old club.

"We were the better team. We scored some goals. We just played hard," Turek said. "It was 3-0 before this game. They tried their best and I just tried to control the rebounds."

"He is playing as well as any goalie in the playoffs, if not better," Blues winger Keith Tkachuk said. "He's been our best player in both series, making the big saves and it's nice to see him get some confidence like that because he really needed it. He was hard on himself during the season."

The fourth-seeded Blues were slight underdogs against the third-seeded Stars but outscored them, 13-6.

"Getting off to good starts in their building in the first two games was critical," Blues defenseman Chris Pronger said. "Getting the lead on them in their builiding and sustaining that by shutting them down was the key. And Roman (Turek) was a big part of that. A lot of credit goes to Roman.

Dallas, which won the Stanley Cup in 1999, was the first defending conference champion to be swept in a series since the Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference semifinals in 1995.

"A loss like this is tougher because we're not used to this," Stars captain Derian Hatcher said. "For two years in a row, we've been in the Stanley Cup finals and we've set a mark for ourselves. We feel we've fell short of that. They are a good team and kept coming at us. We couldn't contain them."

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said afterward that his team will need to retool for the future.

"We've been going at this thing with this core group for four years now and we've had a heckuva a run. It ended today," he said. "In our eyes this core group took us a long, long way. We have a championship and another finals.

"We've played a lot of playoff hockey, almost 80 games in the last four years. But when you get beat legit like we did in this series, you're going to have to take strong stock in a lot of areas. We'll do that in the next two, three weeks and decide a course of action."

After a scoreless first period, Alex Khavanov and Keith Tkachuk scored in the first 14:37 of the second, giving the Blues a 2-0 lead.

"This was the most critical game of the year for us," added Tkachuk. "We found a way. We fought and fought and fought and fought. We got the job done like we've been doing the whole playoffs."

Coming off a double-overtime loss in Game Three and facing elimination, the Stars came out with a spirited effort in the first period. But that was when Turek was at his best, stopping 14 shots.

With under seven minutes left in the period, Turek stopped Mike Modano's blast from the right point. Darryl Sydor was frustrated with 1:21 remaining in the period, when Turek swung his right arm around in acrobatic fashion to make a save and keep the puck out of the net.

"We know Roman is a good goalie. He's a different type of person. His looseness is his way of deflecting pressure," Hitchcock said. "What surprised us is that Roman got sounder as the series went on. He had to be very, very good today early, exceptional at times and he was. That's what you need to win in the playoffs."

St. Louis recovered from its sluggish opening period and peppered Belfour with 17 shots in the second.

The Blues converted on a 4-on-4 with with 10:32 left in the second to open the scoring. Belfour stopped Pierre Turgeon on a breakaway but he could not secure the puck in the crease and Khavanov poked it home for his second goal in as many games.

A cross-checking penalty by Richard Matvichuk led to Tkachuk's second goal of the playoffs that extended the Blues' lead to 2-0 with 5:23 left in the period.

Al MacInnis had his shot stopped by Belfour. But the puck bounced to Tkachuk to the right of the net, where he beat Belfour with a backhander. Ironically, Tkachuk also drew the penalty on Matvichuk.

"I just wanted to be in front of the net," Tkachuk said. "Al (MacInnis) took the hard slap shot and the rebound was right there for me. It's nice to have one finally go in. Down there, that's where I have to play. In front of the net to pay the price and score those goals."

Just over two minutes later, the Stars pulled within 2-1 when Joe Nieuwendyk scored his fourth goal of the postseason. Fighting off the check of MacInnis in the low slot, Nieuwendyk spun around and whipped the puck past Turek.

Dallas came close to tying the contest with seven minutes remaining in the third. Brett Hull, a former Blue, drove to the net and Turek made a save. The puck bounced free and lay in the crease for a moment before Khavnov cleared it away.

Chris Pronger, the Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman last season, picked the right time for his first goal of the playoffs when he scored with 3:49 left, giving the Blues a 3-1 lead. He beat Belfour with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Not going down without a fight, the Stars appeared to pull within 3-2 with 2:34 remaining when Brendan Morrow scored. But after a replay, it was ruled that Jamie Langenbrunner knocked down the puck with a high stick before getting it to Morrow.

"They got the breaks and the lucky bounces. We battled hard but it just wasn't enough," Stars left wing Mike Keane said. "I don't think we played our best hockey, but got beat by a better team."

Scott Young sealed the Stars' fate when he scored into an empty net with 86 seconds remaining.

 

   
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