Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 18 News List

NHL: Stars make finals after marathon game

SAD SHARKSSan Jose were bidding to become just the sixth team in NHL history to rebound from a three-games-to-none deficit, but their dreams were dashed

AFP , DALLAS AND PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Captain Brenden Morrow scored at 9:03 of the fourth overtime on Sunday to send the Dallas Stars into the semi-finals of the National Hockey League playoffs with a 2-1 victory over San Jose.

The Western Conference contest was the eighth-longest in Stanley Cup playoff history and gave the Stars a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series.

Stars goalie Marty Turco was outstanding, turning aside 61 shots. Antti Miettinen notched his first goal of the postseason for the fifth-seeded Stars, who will face Detroit starting today.

The top-seeded Red Wings completed a four-game sweep of Colorado on Thursday.

The Stars reached the conference finals for the first time since 2000, when they lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Evgeni Nabokov made 53 saves for the Sharks, and Ryane Clowe scored through a screen from the top of the right faceoff circle for San Jose to tie the game at 1-1 79 seconds into the third period.

After Brian Campbell was sent to the penalty box on a tripping call, Morrow took a centering feed from blue-liner Stephane Robidas and tucked it past the right pad of Nabokov for his second overtime game-winner of the series.

The game was the longest since the Vancouver Canucks posted a 5-4 triumph over the Stars in four overtimes on April 11, last year.

The Stars, who had won the first three games of the series, dropped the next two to the tenacious Sharks.

San Jose were bidding to become just the sixth team in NHL history to rebound from a three-games-to-none deficit and reach game seven but instead were eliminated in the second round for the third straight season.

Dallas nearly ended it 91 seconds into the first overtime when Brad Richards fired a slap shot from the right faceoff circle toward an open net, but Nabokov made an incredible glove save on the goal line.

Each club then had several chances in the first extra period, but both goalies produced with big saves.

Turco denied Patrick Marleau with a fine save with eight minutes left in the period, then Nabokov denied Mike Ribeiro all alone in front with 73 seconds to go.

Ribeiro bounced a point-blank shot off the crossbar with 49 seconds left in the first extra session.

Ten seconds into the second overtime, a turnover by Robidas led to an uncontested slap shot from Joe Thornton in the high slot, but Turco made the save.

Meanwhile, Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the game after seven minutes and 10 seconds of overtime on Sunday to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers and a spot in the NHL semi-finals.

The Penguins eliminated the Rangers four games to one in the second-round best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

Over-time began with the Penguins on the power play for the first 2:41 after a four-minute penalty late in the third period on New York’s Chris Drury for high sticking, but the Rangers denied Pittsburgh in the extra-man situation.

That merely set the stage for Hossa’s game winner, a quick shot that blasted into the net and ended the Rangers’ title dream.

The Penguins grabbed the lead 8:45 into the second period when Hossa scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on the power play and Pittsburgh doubled the lead just 3:55 later when Evgeni Malkin netted.

The Rangers attacked quickly in the third period to equalize thanks to a pair of unlikely scorers.

Lauri Korpikoski, a recent minor-league call-up in his first NHL game, beat Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with his second NHL career shot just 2:03 into the third period to pull the Rangers within 2-1.

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