Mike Modano scored with 6:52 remaining as the Stars squandered a two-goal lead before eliminating the Oilers for the fifth time in six years with a 3-2 triumph in Game Six of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Since losing to Edmonton in the 1997 quarterfinals, Dallas has won the last five playoff series, knocking out the Oilers in the opening round of their last four postseason appearances.
"It's pretty devastating," Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff said. "You go from thinking we're going to win this and go back for a Game Seven, where anything can happen to, 'Oh my God, we're out and we're not going anywhere, except for home for the summer.' It's almost surreal because everyone in here fully expected we were going to win this series."
Edmonton battled back from an early 2-0 deficit and tied it on second-period goals by Ryan Smyth and Horcoff. But Modano, a long-time postseason nemesis, did in the Oilers again.
Modano had trouble handling defenseman Sergei Zubov's cross-ice pass in the left faceoff circle but finally put a wrist shot over the right arm of goaltender Tommy Salo for his fourth goal of the series and second game-winner.
"It just bounced on me," Modano said. "Zubov made a great pass and it landed just before my stick and just kind of bobbled. I don't know how it got through, maybe just under Tommy's arm."
Marty Turco, who had numerous run-ins around the net, made the lead stand by stopping all 12 shots in the third period. He sprawled to deny rookie Jason Chimera in tight on the left side with 1:17 to play, then snared defenseman Eric Brewer's point shot through traffic with 34 seconds left.
"I knew if I could eliminate their forecheck by moving the puck, it might turn on them a little," Turco said. "The effort to take that part of my game away was there, but I really focused as much as I could. Sometimes it hurt mentally and sometimes physically, but it's just something you have to grind through."
After dropping the series opener at home, the top-seeded Stars won four of the next five games, including two in Edmonton. They will face the upstart Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the conference semifinals.
"Edmonton is one of the most physical teams, they have speed and they gave us a hard time on the forecheck," Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher said. "It's probably going to be more of the same with Anaheim, but I don't know if you're going to see as many big hits."
There were plenty of big hits in this one, none bigger than rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron's hip check that sent Dallas winger Brenden Morrow head over heels in the final minute of the first period. That helped turn the momentum after the Stars again dominated the opening 19 minutes.
Scott Young got the Stars going just 43 seconds into the game when his centering pass off the right boards hit Salo and deflected into the net.
Boucher made it 2-0 at 10:39. He ripped a blast from the top of the right circle that hit the left goalpost and the back bracing of the net before caroming out. Play continued momentarily before a video review credited Boucher with his first playoff goal since 1994.
"I didn't even know it was in, to be honest with you," Boucher said. "It's one of those that you hit it perfectly and it felt good, probably the best shot I took this year."
Dallas could have had a bigger lead, but Salo stopped Morrow on a breakaway with 3:40 to go in the period.
The momentum generated by Bergeron's hit carried into the second period. At 2:22, Smyth jammed in the puck on a rebound of Georges Laraque's shot for his second goal of the series.
Just over six minutes later, Mike York spun at the top of the left circle and fed Horcoff, who moved down the slot and swept the puck past Turco for his team-best third playoff goal.
"I definitely felt like we had momentum on our side as the game went on, especially in the third," Horcoff said. "I thought we had some really good chances, but Marty kept them in it and made some big saves for them. And we came up a goal short again."