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Dallas 3, Edmonton 1
Posted: Wednesday April 16, 2003 02:37 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- The stage was set for a repeat of Game Three. But this time, it was the Dallas Stars who scored in rapid fashion.

Stu Barnes and rookie Niko Kapanen tallied 23 seconds apart in the third period to give the Stars a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers and even their Western Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece.

Much like what transpired in Edmonton's come-from-behind win on Sunday, Dallas grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period and carried it into the third before the Oilers knotted the game.

The Stars regained the lead on a fluke goal by Barnes before Kapanen changed the script and netted his first career playoff tally moments later to keep Edmonton from falling into an unenviable 3-1 series hole.

"It's very important to win a close game like this," Barnes said. "We didn't want to go back home down 3-1. ... We got the win tonight and that's a positive for us. We'll smile about it tonight, but we know there's still a lot of work to be done, and we need to start getting ready for a tough Game Five."

"I wasn't surprised at the way we responded at all," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We talked about it before the game, that this is a game we have to have. It didn't matter if we were up, down, whatever, as long as we end up on top. That's where we want to be."

Shawn Horcoff scored the lone goal for Edmonton, which owns a 15-1 record in series when owning a two games to one lead.

"We had a number of point-blank chances in the first period and we were beating the star on (Marty) Turco's jersey to death," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We just couldn't find a hole."

Turco turned aside 23 shots for the Stars, who recaptured home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series, which returns to Dallas for Game Five on Thursday.

"This team has responded numerous times all year, and we didn't expect anything different in the playoffs," Turco said. "That's the character we've got in here, we're a veteran team that keeps its poise for 60 minutes or beyond if we need it. We've got that in the bag and we're going to use it when we need it."

"We got our home ice back," said Stars captain Derian Hatcher, who returned to the lineup after a one-game suspension. "That's kind of what we wanted, so away we go, best-of-three now."

In danger of being pushed to the brink of elimination, the Stars took just 78 seconds to get on the scoreboard.

Behind his own net, Marty Reasoner lost control of the puck, allowing Mike Modano to pounce on it. At the right point, defenseman Sergei Zubov one-timed Modano's feed past Tommy Salo's glove side for his second goal of the series.

Ulf Dahlen nearly gave Dallas a two-goal cushion on the power play midway through the second, but his shot from low in the right faceoff circle glanced off Salo's right shoulder and into the corner.

After serving his slashing infraction, Ethan Moreau exited the penalty box, took a pass and raced in on Turco. But defenseman Philippe Boucher caught up to Moreau, tying him up to prevent a shot.

Horcoff had a golden opportunity to draw Edmonton even with less than three minutes to go.

Taking a feed from rookie Ales Hemsky just inside the Dallas blue line, Horcoff sneaked between two defensemen and skated down the slot alone. But just before reaching the doorstep, he passed to Hemsky, who fanned on a one-timer, instead of attempting a shot of his own.

Learning from the miscue, Horcoff accounted for the Oilers' only offense with a strong individual effort early in the third.

Dallas defenseman Darryl Sydor gathered a loose puck behind his own net and skated up the left side. In the faceoff circle, Horcoff poked the puck off Sydor's stick and moved in on Turco before putting a shot between the goaltender's body and right arm at 2:07, knotting the contest at 1-1.

"We scored early in the third, and it looks like the same recipe for a good finish for us," MacTavish said. "Then we made a couple mistakes."

With the sellout crowd at Skyreach Centre making their presence knowln, Barnes put them back in their seats less than four minutes later.

Holding the puck behind Salo's net, the former Buffalo captain banked the puck off defenseman Jason Smith's right skate and past the unsuspecting goalie at 5:52 for his 25th career playoff goal.

"I wish I could take credit for that," Barnes said. "Arnie (Jason Arnott) was wide open out in the slot and I was just trying to get the puck out to him. Once he gets the puck in that area, he's pretty dangerous, but I got the lucky bounce and sometimes that's all it takes to win a playoff game."

"It was just a tough break," said Salo, who has yet to win consecutive games in the postseason. "It hit one of our guys and went in. A tough break, that's all. He tried to block the pass to the front of the net, it hit the back of his skate and went in. It's nothing you can worry about. You just try to focus on stopping the next shot and that's it."

With the Oilers still recovering from the bizarre turn of events, Dallas went for the jugular.

Rob DiMaio carried into the Edmonton zone and pulled up at the right point before dishing to Jere Lehtinen in the faceoff circle. In one motion, the Selke Trophy candidate moved the puck across the slot to Kapanen, who slipped around Reasoner and beat Salo at 6:15 to put the Stars ahead, 3-1.

"We learned from what happened last game," Hatcher said. "We'd love to win every game 1-0, but that's not going to happen, so to answer right back after they scored shows a lot of character."

 


 
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