EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- The trade that was supposed to signal the end of the Edmonton Oilers' pursuit of a playoff berth helped put them ahead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Radek Dvorak scored a highlight reel goal with 14:22 remaining to cap a rare third-period comeback by the Oilers, who grabbed a two games to one lead in the first-round series with a 3-2 triumph over the Dallas Stars.
At the March 11 trade deadline, Edmonton sent leading scorer Anson Carter to the New York Rangers in a four-player deal that landed Dvorak and defenseman Cory Cross. Dvorak scored four goals in 12 games down the stretch, but his first playoff tally in seven years made the trade worth it.
Just 58 seconds after Fernando Pisani lifted the Oilers into a 2-2 tie, Dvorak brought the puck over the Dallas blue line, put it between the skates of veteran defenseman Richard Matvichuk as he moved through the right faceoff circle, then wristed a shot over the stick of goaltender Marty Turco.
"It was my 'A-plus' move," Dvorak said. "The defenseman stepped up and I put the puck between his legs. I was going to go for the five-hole, but Turco's stick came out, so I pulled it back and just tried to get it over his stick."
"Dvorak made a great move, he has a lot of speed," Turco said. "You see a lot of those in practice, so I wasn't going to panic, but he made a great move and a great shot that I couldn't handle."
Dvorak's only other playoff goal came in 1996 for the Florida Panthers.
Only two teams had fewer wins than Edmonton when trailing after two periods during the regular season. And Dallas lost just once in 42 games when taking a lead into the third. But Georges Laraque started the Oilers' comeback at 2:33.
Tommy Salo made 30 saves for Edmonton but none bigger than his glove stop on Jere Lehtinen, who broke free down the slot with just under 13 minutes to play. It protected the home-ice advantage the Oilers stole with a win in the series opener.
"Momentum is a very funny thing," Oilers defenseman Steve Staios said. "We stuck to our system and this was a huge win for us, especially coming from behind the way we did."
Game Four is Tuesday in Edmonton.
Playing without injured stars Bill Guerin and Pierre Turgeon and suspended captain Derian Hatcher, the Stars took a 1-0 lead into the third period on former Oiler Jason Arnott's power-play goal midway through the first.
But Laraque tied it when he squeezed past Matvichuk along the right boards and passed behind the net to Mike York. Laraque got back the puck, moved in front of the net with Matvichuk on his back and swept a shot by Turco.
"Coach said, 'Guys, we've got to start getting more shots on net,'" Laraque said. "I was really frustrated because I had a 2-on-1 (earlier) and we didn't get a shot, so I decided to go to the net and shoot it, and it went in."
Lehtinen put Dallas back in front 50 seconds later with a fluke goal. Carrying down the left side, he floated a pass that went off the back of Edmonton defenseman Scott Ferguson and caromed past a helpless Salo.
Pisani, an Edmonton native, tied it just 77 seconds after that with his first career playoff goal. From the top of the right circle, he used defenseman Philippe Boucher as a screen and wristed a shot that trickled between Turco's pads.
After setting a modern day NHL record with a 1.72 goals-against average during the season, Turco surrendered three goals on four shots in a 3:05 span of the third period.
"The worst part about the (third) one was that it was a back-breaker right after we had tied it up," Turco said. "I wouldn't change much. I didn't see it clean and sometimes those squeak through."
Arnott scored the only goal of the first two periods. With just six seconds left on Cross' roughing penalty, Dallas defenseman Darryl Sydor froze Salo and the Oilers' defense by faking a shot from the left circle. Sydor sent a cross-ice pass to Arnott, who had an easy redirection into a half-empty net for his second goal of the series.
Turco got himself in trouble during a Stars' power play with five minutes to go in the second period. He came way out of the net to beat Edmonton's Marty Reasoner to a loose puck but had his clearing attempt intercepted by Pisani, who fired a shot off the left goalpost.
"He would tell you he has to be better, and I don't think it's rookie jitters," Stars coach Dave Tippett said of his goaltender. "This is the third game now and it's time to get in there."