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Modano becomes U.S.-born scoring champ with 2 goals in Stars' win over Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Mike Modano became the highest-scoring American in NHL history the same way he does most everything else on ice - very quickly.

Modano scored two goals in the first 4:24 to surpass Phil Housley's career record for points by a U.S.-born player in the Dallas Stars' 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.

Modano, the 37-year-old Michigan native who has been the star of Stars for nearly two decades in Minnesota and Dallas, tied the mark with a long slap shot past Evgeni Nabokov just 2:19 in. The speedy centre added a short-handed goal moments later, earning gracious applause from the Shark Tank crowd for the longtime foe's latest remarkable feat.

Modano thought he would reach the mark much earlier in the season, even gathering his family and friends in Dallas for a few fruitless home games. He felt elation mixed with relief when he finally held the record-setting puck in front of a banner printed up by the Stars marking the occasion.

"The longer it's drawn out, the more it's forced me to appreciate the situation and enjoy it, start having some fun," Modano said. "I think it's kind of dragged me down a little bit emotionally thinking about it every night, going out there and trying to make it happen. The two tonight couldn't have been written up any better with the first two shots, two goals."

Dallas sat on the cushion provided by Modano for the rest of the night. Steve Ott also scored for the Stars, who were outshot 39-12 - but Marty Turco made 38 saves in Dallas' fourth straight victory in San Jose.

Modano's teammates are planning a celebration and a gift when they return to Dallas, but they simply enjoyed another night of brilliance from their playmaking centre.

"I think maybe it was only fitting that he did it all alone on a breakaway with the spotlight on him," Turco said. "When you talk about it, there's just one guy that stands out in American hockey."

Matt Carle scored and Nabokov made just nine saves for the Sharks, who have lost four of their conference-low five home games despite maddeningly huge shot advantages. The Sharks have 64 shots more than their opponents in those four losses.

But Joe Thornton and his teammates couldn't score - not like Modano.

The six-time all-star has 1,233 points in 1,253 regular-season games - 242 games fewer than Housley played. Modano became the American career goal-scoring leader March 17, and he extended his record to 511 goals with his two quick goals.

"It was really special to watch, especially the way he did it (with) two beautiful, beautiful goals," said Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick, who's one goal shy of becoming the third U.S.-born player with 500 goals. "I wish we could have done it on the same night. I was just really proud to be here when he did it."

Modano, the first overall pick in the 1988 draft, has been the Stars' highest-profile player for nearly two decades and led Dallas to the Stanley Cup in 1999.

The six-time all-star scored a career-high 93 points during the franchise's final season in Minnesota (1992-93) and equalled it the following season after the Stars moved to Texas. He is the franchise's career leader in goals, assists, points, games played, game-winning goals, power-play goals and short-handed goals.

"The accomplishment is phenomenal," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "What he's meant to hockey in the United States, it goes without saying. He does it with such class. It's great to see him finally get it."

After Modano earned two ovations from the San Jose crowd, the rest of the night belonged to Turco and the Dallas defence. The Sharks had 25 shots but just one goal in the first two periods, and the Stars blocked an astonishing 13 more shot attempts.

That's no problem for the Stars, who improved to 5-2-1 this season when they're outshot by their opponents. Dallas wasn't even hurt when Sergei Zubov missed a penalty shot moments after Modano's second goal.

Carle got his first goal of the season on a power play late in the first period for the Sharks.

Referee Rob Martell waved off an apparent power-play goal by Sandis Ozolinsh midway through the second period, ruling Milan Michalek had interfered with Turco on the play. Replays appeared to show Michalek was checked into Turco - and didn't clearly show Michalek had even touched the goalie.

"Sandis' goal should have counted," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "There was absolutely nothing Milan could do there. That would have been a huge goal for us. ... When they review the call, they'll see exactly what we saw. They made a bad call."

Notes: San Jose beat the Stars 4-2 on Oct. 29 in Dallas. ... Sharks D Christian Ehrhoff was a healthy scratch for the second straight game, reflecting Wilson's apparent displeasure in the German's recent play. ... Modano moved into 35th place on the NHL's career scoring list, trailing Peter Stastny by six points. He's 33rd on the career goals list, breaking his tie with Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi.


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