DENVER (AP) -- Desperation served the Stars well. If they're
going to reach the second round, they'll have to play on a similar
emotional level again and again and again.
"They've got us on the ropes still," Dallas forward Bill
Guerin said after Dallas avoided an early elimination from the NHL
playoffs with an impressive 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on
Friday night behind Niklas Hagman's first two goals of the
"We've got to keep playing for our lives," Guerin said.
Colorado's quest for a stunning 4-0 sweep of the second-seeded
Stars hit a stumbling block in the second period when Dallas
goaltender Marty Turco made a risky move that fired up the Stars,
who outshot the Avalanche 19-6.
Two of those shots found the net.
Hagman's breakaway goal off Sergei Zubov's pass broke a 1-1 tie
less than 4 minutes into the period, and Bill Guerin's wraparound
goal between goaltender Jose Theodore's skates came at 18:41 and
took the air out of the Avs.
In between, Turco, who won for just the second time in nine
playoff games against the Avalanche, came out of the net to play
the puck, colliding with Colorado forward Alex Tanguay just above
the right circle.
"Beat him to the puck," Turco thought as he left the net.
"Everything's the same. Whether it's making saves or playing the
puck. That's an instinct play that I won't ever hesitate to make.
I'm reading it the whole way. I knew I could at least tie him to
the puck, and after that I'll take my chances."
The risk paid off as the fired-up Stars produced their best game
of the series, outshooting the Avs 39-23. Turco had his best
performance of the postseason by far.
"Desperate teams play with the demons," Avs defenseman Patrice
Brisebois said. "They played like they had demons. They were
relentless, pressuring us in our zone. We'd been able to handle
their pressure in the first three games. This time we had
breakdowns, bad passes in our zone and in the neutral zone. They
jumped on our mistakes and capitalized on them."
Avs captain Joe Sakic said everybody finally saw the intensity
that he'd expected all along from the Stars.
"You saw how a desperate team can play," Sakic said. "They
were all over us on the ice. That is a pretty good team over there.
As a player you don't want the season to end. You want to keep
And so they will. The best-of-seven Western Conference series
will return to Dallas for Game 5 on Sunday. The Stars are hoping to
join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders
as the only teams in league history to win a playoff series after
falling behind 3-0.
Turco didn't think his plucky play sparked anything for Dallas
but it was Exhibit A of the Stars' rediscovered intensity.
"I think inspiration was at its peak tonight just based on
being down 0-3 and knowing that we could be doing a lot better,"
For the first three games, every lucky bounce went Colorado's
way. There was no such Avalanche comeback in store this time. They
couldn't control the pace or the puck enough to take shots at
Turco, who had allowed 15 goals in the series.
The Stars simply had too much energy -- perhaps a byproduct of
coach Dave Tippett's decision to cancel practice Thursday but just
as likely the heightened level of adrenaline borne out of the
desire to avoid an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the
"I thought we were desperate, maybe they were a little more
desperate than us," Laperriere said. "In Game 5 we're going to
have to match that. They're going to be pumped up in front of their
fans. And we're just going to have to raise our level to beat a
great team like that."
Hagman's second goal, into an empty net, came with 1:15 left and
sent the crowd streaming to the exits.
"They played desperate hockey," Theodore said. "They were
especially desperate in the second period when they really came
The Avs haven't won four straight since an eight-game
winning streak from Dec. 31-Jan. 17. ... Colorado hasn't swept a
series since the 2001 quarterfinals against Vancouver. Dallas
hasn't been swept since the conference semifinals that year by St.
Louis. ... Zubov had two assists.