Stars blank Canucks again, force Game 7

4-21-07 -- Mike Modano finally scored and Marty Turco had another shutout, lifting the Dallas Stars to a 2-0 victory Saturday night and sending their series against the Canucks back to Vancouver for a deciding Game 7.

Turco stopped 21 shots in his third career playoff shutout -- all in this first-round Western Conference series.

For the first time in their history, the Stars have come back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7. They get to play it 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.

Modano's first goal of the playoffs -- and the first by any of the Stars' top five goal-scorers in the regular season -- came on a 5-on-3 power play only 3:05 into the game. 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 capitalize on other 5-on-3 chances in two losses this series.

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 goalie Roberto Luongo screened by Jere Lehtinen in front of the net, Modano 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.

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 captain Brenden 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's status for Game 7 is unclear after he 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.

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 postseason. 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).

Modano, whose 507 career goals in the regular season are tops by a U.S.-born player, finally broke through in this series. He didn't even take a shot in Game 4.

Halpern provided the insurance the Stars hoped for when he wound up with a loose puck in the Vancouver zone and scored from about the same spot as Modano had two periods earlier.


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