Stars blow late lead, lose in OT as Avs go up 3-0

DENVER (AP) -- The Dallas Stars' inability to close out a game
has them teetering on elimination.

The Colorado Avalanche took a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven
series Wednesday night when they beat the Stars in overtime for the
second straight game. This time it was 4-3 on Alex Tanguay's

Tanguay attempted a cross-ice pass to Ian Laperriere that went
off Willie Mitchell's skate and into the net at 1:09 of overtime,
marking the second time in 48 hours the Avs had beaten the Stars
after tying the score with a goal late in the third period.

This time, Andrew Brunette tied it at 3 on the power play with
less than a minute left in regulation.

"We got a few lucky bounces," Tanguay said. "We're very

They're also one win away from sweeping the second-seeded Stars.

"It's the way it's been for us in the series. The bounces
haven't gone our way," Dallas goaltender Marty Turco said. "We
have to find a way to win Game 4" Friday night in Denver.

The Avalanche have had 3-0 leads in the playoffs twice before
and swept both series.

Maybe desperation will shake the Stars from their doldrums,
Turco said.

"It's going to be an effort that is unparalleled from what
we've seen from our group. Our backs are against the wall. When
teams are desperate and guys are desperate, guys seem to play
well," he said.

"We're going to expect to win. Nothing has been handed to them

Maybe not, but only two NHL teams have ever overcome a 3-0
playoff deficit and the Stars have never been able to rally from a
2-0 hole since the 1968 quarterfinals, when they were the Minnesota
North Stars and came back to beat Los Angeles 4-3.

Tanguay's second goal of the game ruined a solid performance by
Turco, who looked for most of the night like he was going to reward
coach Dave Tippett's decision to stick with him in net.

Turco had surrendered 10 goals as the second-seeded Stars lost
the first two games at home, but rather than replace him with Johan
Hedberg, Tippett declared Turco was still his guy.

Turco stopped 25 shots but the two goals he surrendered at the
end dropped him to 1-7 in the playoffs against the Avs, who have
scored 32 times against him in the postseason.

Sergei Zubov's 5-on-3 goal from the right circle with 15 seconds
left in the second period broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Stars their
first lead of the night, which held up behind Dallas' spectacular
defense until Brunette's power-play goal with 56 seconds left in
the third period.

"I take responsibility," said Brenden Morrow, who was in the
penalty box for Dallas, serving a two-minute penalty for tripping.
"I saw how they were calling it tight the first two games. I
should have known better by now. I let my teammates down."

Tanguay, Brett McLean and Laperriere converged on the goal in
overtime for the game-winner.

"The goal at the end gave us some energy, and we got a
fortunate break around the net," Avs coach Joel Quenneville said.
"The games have been really close, two games in a row could have
gone either way."

And Dallas' mistakes have tipped the games in Colorado's favor
both times.

"We are just having brain cramps," Tippett said. "You can't
take penalties in the last two minutes. ... It is a recipe for
disaster, you aren't going to win that way. We are beating
ourselves. All due credit to Colorado, they are playing well, but
when you make the crucial mental errors, that's how you lose the

Stars defenseman Jon Klemm, a key member of Colorado's first
Stanley Cup team, tied it at 2 midway through the second period
when he took Antti Miettinen's pass from behind the net and slapped
it past Jose Theodore from the slot. Zubov's go-ahead goal came
with Tanguay and Milan Hejduk in the penalty box for hooking.

Sakic scored his 19th point in 22 career playoff games against
the Stars when he rammed in the puck from right in front of the
crease on a power play for a 1-0 lead after Turco had stopped a
shot by Brett Clark.

Dallas tied it at 1 on a short-handed goal 5 minutes later when
Stu Barnes broke free and beat Theodore over his left shoulder.

Tanguay's first goal came when he skated in front of Turco and
deflected Hejduk's shot from the right circle into the net for a
2-1 Colorado lead with just over a minute left in the first period.
The puck bounced off Tanguay's shoulder, then glanced off
defenseman Janne Niinimaa and into the net.

"It was a tight game, Marty played really well for them,"
Sakic said. "It was a huge win obviously, to go up 3-0 against a
team like that. Now we have to find a way to put it away.

"We don't want to give them any life."

Game notes
Colorado improved to 46-14 in the playoffs when Sakic
scores a goal and 72-26 when he records at least one point. ...
Sakic's 80th playoff goal tied Claude Lemieux for eighth place on
the career list.