DALLAS -- Mike Modano was more concerned with where he scored his 500th goal than how he did it.
Modano became the second U.S.-born player -- and the 39th in NHL history -- to score 500 goals, leading the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Mike Modano scored his 500th regular-season NHL goal in the Stars' win over the Flyers on Tuesday night. Modano is the 39th player in league history to reach that plateau and the fifth to do so this season; the others were Mats Sundin, Teemu Selanne, Peter Bondra and Mark Recchi. It's the first time that as many as five players scored their 500th career goal in the same season. The previous high was four in 1995-96, and it was a very distinguished quartet: Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Dale Hawerchuk.
"It's an amazing feat and he's in an elite group," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "To score that many goals and do it with one franchise means a lot to him. His success is something he should be proud of."
With the game tied at 1, Jussi Jokinen gave the Stars the lead at 9:02 of the third period on a wrist shot from the slot. Just 34 seconds later, Modano extended the lead to 3-1 with his 15th goal and fourth in six games, knocking home the rebound of Jon Klemm's shot that pinballed off Dallas' Antti Miettinen and onto Modano's stick.
"We were hoping he'd get it sooner rather than later," Miettinen said. "When he gets chances like that, he's going to put one in. It's nice to be involved in a big play like that. But it's not about me, it's for him."
Modano was mobbed by teammates and cheered by the crowd of 17,618. When he went out for his next shift, it served as a curtain call as he was greeted by another roar from the fans.
"This is the loudest we've heard this building in a long time," Stars teammate Philippe Boucher said. "Only a few players can reach this milestone and Mike has really stepped up and carried this team lately. He's been a franchise player. As he goes, we go."
With Niittymaki pulled for an extra attacker, Philadelphia got within 3-2 with 1:17 left on Upshall's eighth goal of the season. That made Modano's goal the game-winner.
Modano missed 23 straight games in December and January with a hip injury and is only now rounding back into form.
"The season was slipping away but slowly I'm starting to feel better," Modano said.
Rookie Mike Smith stopped 17 shots for the Stars, who won their third straight and improved to 12-4-3 in their last 19 games.
Smith made a sprawling save on Jeff Carter with 4.1 seconds left to preserve the victory. Smith, who was giving usual starter Marty Turco the night off, improved to 10-5-1.
Pitkanen added a goal and Niittymaki made 30 saves for the Flyers.
Lehtinen got the game's first goal at 6:41 of the opening period on a one-timer from the slot for his team-leading 24th goal.
Pitkanen, who had three minor penalties in the first two periods, tied it at 1 at 6:23 of the third period when he beat Smith on a shot from the left point while teammate Mike York screened the goalie.
But the night belonged to Modano.
"It's unfortunate that it happened against us," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "He's been a great player for a long time. It's a great milestone for him. But I thought we got better as the night went on. We had a lot of fight and had our chances there at the end."
Dallas was without defenseman Mattias Norstrom (knee), center Eric Lindros (groin) and center Jeff Halpern (foot). ... Left winger Simon Gagne (groin), defenseman Mike Rathje (back), left winger Ben Eager (ankle) and right winger Mike Knuble (face) were out for the Flyers. ... Dallas rookie right winger Chris Conner left in the second period with a lower body injury. ... Stars left winger and captain Brenden Morrow has been cleared for full-contact practice. Morrow has been out since Dec. 26 with severed tendons in his wrist sustained when he was run over by a skate blade. ... Dallas dominated the first period, holding a 15-5 shots edge.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: American Airlines Center Location: Dallas, Texas
Referees: Gord Dwyer Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Jay Sharrers
Attendance: 17,618 (95.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Jere Lehtinen (24)
Assists: Jussi Jokinen, Niklas Hagman
No scoring this period
Joni Pitkanen (4)
Assists: Mike Richards, Dmitry Afanasenkov
Jussi Jokinen (13)
Mike Modano (15)
Assists: Antti Miettinen, Jon Klemm
Scottie Upshall (8)
Assists: Mike Richards, Jeff Carter