From a 3-1 deficit, the Stars have won in overtime and now at home – both difficult post-season tasks for them and their goalie in the past – to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series against the Canucks.
Mike Modano finally scored, his goal coming on early 5-on-3 power play in the kind of situation Dallas had faltered earlier in this series, and Turco had 21 saves in his third shutout of the series in the Stars’ 2-0 victory Saturday night.
“We had to play with poise, stay calm and do good things with the puck. We were able to get off to a good start and went from there,” Modano said.
“We’ll find out if momentum matters,” said Turco, who didn’t have a playoff shutout before this series. “We’ve frustrated them a little bit. Game 7 will be the biggest challenge.”
For the first time in their history, the Stars have come back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7. It will be Monday night.
Vancouver, which has rallied from 3-1 deficits three times to win series, is also one of the 20 NHL teams who have blown that big lead. The Canucks did that four years ago against Minnesota.
“They were the hungrier team tonight and they deserved to win,” Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. “That’s the bottom line. But it’s a clean slate now. It’s a one-game series.”
Modano’s goal 3:05 into the game was the first in the series by any of the Stars’ top five goal-scorers in the regular season. Jeff Halpern added an unassisted goal with 12:38 left after Vancouver turned the puck over in its zone.
The goal by Modano was a huge lift for the Stars, who had failed to score on other 5-on-3 chances in two losses this series.
“Marty was big time for us and the goal by Mo was huge,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “Capitalizing on the 5-on-3 was big.”
Dallas had a longer two-man advantage in the second period of Game 4, but went 1:55 without scoring in that 2-1 loss. In the series opener Vancouver won late in the fourth overtime, the Stars couldn’t end the game during a 5-on-3 power play for 39 seconds early in the second OT.
With Luongo screened by Jere Lehtinen in front of the net, Modano – whose 507 goals in the regular season are the most for a U.S.-born player – took a pass from Sergei Zubov and shot from the slot between the circles. The puck dinged the right post and went into the net.
Only seconds earlier after Dallas got the two-man advantage, Luongo denied Modano on a shot that almost went in. The puck was between the goal line and the goalie, who was on his backside, when Luongo reached back with his left arm and swiped the puck under him.
Luongo stopped 28 of 30 shots.
“If it weren’t for Roberto, it would have been 7-0. It was not a good game on our part to say the least,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “As far as I’m concerned there was one team on the ice. It was the Dallas Stars. They outworked us, outhustled us. … If we bring this type of game or efficiency on the ice. I don’t like our chances.”
Dallas ended a mind-boggling six-game home playoff losing streak, one short of the NHL record.
The Stars hadn’t won a home playoff game since Game 3 of their first-round series against Colorado in 2004. That was also their last overtime playoff victory until Morrow scored 6:22 into extra period of Game 5 for a 1-0 victory that extended the series – and ended a six-game skid in OT games.
Morrow hopped and skated off – putting no pressure on his left foot – with 2:20 left in the game. Before getting off the ice, Morrow stopped in front of the Vancouver bench and threw a punch at Alexandre Burrows, who appeared to slash the Stars captain’s left leg only seconds earlier.
“It took every part of me to hold back,” said Morrow, who plans to play in Game 7. “I went over there for a reason and talked myself out of it.”
Morrow, who was done in the game anyway, was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty. So was Jeff Cowan after the Vancouver left wing got involved in the fracas with Burrows.
Only 12 goalies had recorded three shutouts in the same playoff series before Turco, who still has a game left.
And in Vancouver, Turco has allowed only one goal in his last 204 minutes. That was the game-winner in the fourth overtime of Game 1 before he posted shutouts in Games 2 and 5.
Turco came into the series trying to shed his image as an underachiever in the post-season. He had won only one of his four playoff series, including a loss to seventh-seed Colorado in five games last year, and his career save percentage dropped from .914 to .892 in the playoffs.
In this series, Turco has stopped 190 of 199 shots (.955 save percentage).
That’s still only slightly better than playoff first-timer Luongo at .950 (209-of-220).
“Our guys really played well in front of me, obviously with the number of quality scoring chances they had,” Turco said. “We took plays away. We’re strong down low and that’s how we have to play to win games. It’s been a defensive-minded series and tonight was no different.”
Notes: This is the 13th series in which Dallas trailed 3-1. … Modano didn’t even take a shot in Game 4. … Stars LW Jussi Jokinen missed his second straight game with a torso injury. … Zubov never returned after sustaining a torso injury in the second period. … The standing-room only crowd of 18,600 was the largest of the season in Dallas.