Final OT

Colorado won 4-1 (Game 3 of 5)

Colorado won 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, April 7th
Stars1Final
Avalanche3
Game 2: Friday, April 9th
Stars2Final
Avalanche5
Game 3: Monday, April 12th
Avalanche3Final
OT
Stars4
Game 4: Wednesday, April 14th
Avalanche3Final
2OT
Stars2
Game 5: Saturday, April 17th
Stars1Final
Avalanche5

8:00 PM ET, April 12, 2004

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 OT T
COL 2 1 0 03
DAL 1 1 1 14

S. Ott (Stars - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Young (Stars - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Blake (Avalanche - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Dallas doubles its goals on Aebischer

DALLAS (AP) -- Two games and 2½ periods into their first-round matchup, the Colorado Avalanche seemed to be toying with the Dallas Stars.

Then things turned serious for Colorado. And the Avalanche couldn't respond.

Philippe Boucher scored the tying goal with 4:27 left in regulation, then Steve Ott won it with a breakaway goal off a neutral-zone steal 2:11 into overtime, giving Dallas a 4-3 victory Monday night that revives the Stars' chances in the series.

"It's a great feeling, but it's only one game," said Scott Young, who began Dallas' rally with a power-play goal with two seconds left in the second period. "We couldn't afford to lose this game."

A loss would have left the Stars facing a 3-0 series deficit, which has led to elimination for every team since 1975. Now they've got a chance to tie the series in Game 4 on Wednesday night. It's in Dallas, where the Stars have lost only one of their last 20 games.

Colorado won the first two games by a combined score of 8-3, with the outcome of both never in doubt. The Avalanche again had a two-goal cushion, leading 3-1 until Young's goal.

"That goal was frustrating, it gave them life," Colorado center Chris Gratton said. "It got the fans back into it. The building was jumping, and it gave them the momentum right back."

Still, Colorado goaltender David Aebischer kept it 3-2 for much of the third period, and the Avs were less than five minutes from another victory.

Dallas goaltender Marty Turco also helped keep things tight, primarily by making a glove save on a point-blank shot by Rob Blake seven minutes into the third period.

"It was my opportunity to step up," said Turco, who had 14 saves, just three in the third period and overtime. "It was one-on-one. I like to think I thrive in those situations."

Aebischer, who made 28 saves, lost for the first time in his playoff career. How Patrick Roy's replacement responds to allowing the two late goals could be a key to the rest of this series.

"David is very hard on himself," Colorado coach Tony Granato said. "Every time he lets in a goal, he feels he should have saved it. He's very critical of himself. But from Day 1, he's been solid for us."

Jason Arnott scored a power-play goal midway through the first period to put Dallas ahead 1-0. The Stars led just 3:33, but that was more than triple the 1:03 they'd been up through the first two games.

Milan Hejduk had the tying goal, then Riku Hahl put the Avs back in front. Steve Konowalchuk stretched the lead by scoring on a power play midway through the second.

Boucher tied it from about the widest spot possible, in the small space between the boards and the outside of the right faceoff circle. With Young clogging the front of the net, the puck got past Aebischer's stick.

"You want to take some chances," Boucher said. "I got lucky."

The winning play began when Ott blocked a neutral-zone pass from Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote. The second-year center then took off with the puck as soon as he saw it heading toward the Colorado zone.

Foote couldn't catch up to Ott. Neither could Karlis Skrastins, who dived just as Ott sent the puck through a narrow gap between Aebischer and the post.

"I was just trying to keep the puck away from Foote," Ott said. "The puck was bouncing all over the place. I was just trying to throw it at the net. I couldn't believe it went in."

Ott is one of many Stars who bleached their hair and spiked it into a mohawk for a new twist on the tradition of growing a playoff beard. This goal -- his first in four career playoff games after only two in 73 regular-season games, none since Feb. 4 -- really makes him feel part of the club.

"All the emotion and happiness is awesome," he said.

The Avalanche went through the opposite emotions, something they never came close to feeling the first two games.

"You're going to go through tough times throughout the playoffs," center Peter Forsberg said. "But we still have to keep in mind that we're up 2-1."

Game notes


The Avalanche have scored twice in the first period of all three games. That's a major letdown for a Dallas defense that gave up a league-low 38 first-period goals in the regular season. The Stars allowed two first-period goals in just five of 82 games. ... Forsberg upped his postseason scoring streak to nine straight games, matching a career best. ... Arnott's goal broke a seven-game playoff drought.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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