Stars lose wild playoff opener in fourth overtime

By: From Wire Reports
By: From Wire Reports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The relief outweighed the exhaustion for the Vancouver Canucks.

Henrik Sedin scored with 1:54 left in the fourth overtime and Roberto Luongo stopped 72 shots in his first postseason start to lift the Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.

Sedin took a pass from behind the net from twin brother Daniel and blasted a shot past Dallas goalie Marty Turco to give Vancouver the win after squandering a 4-2 lead in the third period.

"It's a big relief to get off the ice," Henrik Sedin said after the sixth-longest game in Stanley Cup history. "To lose the game would have been tough."

Vancouver players streamed off the bench to congratulate Sedin. Canucks veteran Trevor Linden, who celebrated his 37th birthday Wednesday, said a loss would have been devastating.

"It would have been very difficult to lose this game," Linden said. "To be up two and let that go, to lose would have been a bitter pill to swallow. It's nice we got the win and can move on."

The Stars outshot Vancouver 76-56 and dominated most of the overtime periods.

"I'd be lying if I said we weren't disappointed to not get the win," said Brenden Morrow, who had a goal and assist for Dallas. "You have to think about it, park it, forget about it and move on.

"We're not hanging our heads. It's a long series. It's going to take four wins and we're not the type of team that's going to quit after losing one hockey game."

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night.

Luongo, who finished one save short of Kelly Hrudey's playoff record, did set the record for saves in a first career postseason start.

"I got all the experience I needed in one game," Luongo said. "I think everybody was exhausted. It's a hard game to play. Guys were battling the whole time and trying not to make mistakes."

The overtime lasted 78 minutes, 6 seconds. The longest overtime in NHL history was 116:30 when Detroit beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 on March 24, 1936.

"It was a strange game," Henrik Sedin said. "Personally, I felt better the longer the game went. I got my legs going in the fifth and sixth period."

Turco made 51 saves for Dallas but lost a fifth straight playoff overtime decision.

"It's really disappointing right now," he said. "It's frustrating but I'm sure we'll turn it into a positive, too. We just have to find a way to get more pucks ... and sustain the pressure down there even more."

The Stars scored 5 minutes apart in the third period to force the overtime. Antti Miettinen started the comeback by scoring at 8:31, and then assisted on Ladislav Nagy's tying goal at 13:46.

Markus Naslund had a goal and an assist, and Bryan Smolinski, Daniel Sedin and Mattias Ohlund also scored for the Canucks. Brendan Morrow had a goal and assist, and Trevor Daley also scored for Dallas.

The 76 shots given up by the Canucks was a franchise record. That exceeded the 54 the New York Rangers managed against Vancouver in Game 1 of the 1994 Stanley Cup final.

Vancouver's 56 shots on goal also broke the franchise record of 47 set against Toronto on May 24, 1994.

Daniel Sedin opened the scoring 4:20 into the game with a pass from behind the net that bounced in off the skate of defenseman Darryl Sydor. Dallas tied it 68 seconds later after Morrow drew a penalty on a 2-on-1 rush, then converted the ensuing power play with a quick shot from the slot.

Ohlund restored Vancouver's lead with a power-play one-timer from the point and through traffic 6:26 into the second period, but Daley tied it again midway through the period.

Naslund broke the tie at 13:47 of the second after jumping off the bench and onto a turnover inside the Dallas blue line, skating in alone and snapping a shot through Turco's legs. Smolinski made it 4-2 at 7:36 of the third after a point shot bounced off the end boards and into the crease with Turco looking the other way.

Notes

Vancouver lost LW Matt Cooke late in the second period with a strained groin. LW Alexandre Burrows left in the first overtime after looking wobbly trying to get up after being hit face first into the glass by Stephane Robidas. ... Canucks C Ryan Kesler made surprising return a little more than 10 weeks after undergoing hip surgery that was supposed to keep him out 12-to-16 weeks. ... Vancouver D Brent Sopel didn't play after hurting his back trying to pick up a cracker from the floor Tuesday, coach Alain Vigneault said. Rory Fitzpatrick took his place. ... Dallas C Eric Lindros didn't travel to Vancouver because of a groin injury, and RW Matthew Barnaby sat out due to a concussion.


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