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  Kamensky, Avalanche Take Game 1

Dallas Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk
Colorado's Adam Deadmarsh, left, and Dallas' Joe Nieuwendyk battle for the puck in the first period. (Associated Press)
By Jaime Aron
Associated Press
Saturday, May 22, 1999; 10:50 p.m. EDT

DALLAS – They couldn't take this one away from Valeri Kamensky.

A period after having a possible goal waved off, Kamensky rebounded his own miss with 5:58 left to give Colorado a 2-1 victory over Dallas in the opening game of the Western Conference finals Saturday.

The Avalanche improved to 7-0 on the road this postseason and won their fifth straight since being down 0-2 to Detroit in the second round. The Stars had won their first five playoff games in Reunion Arena.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Monday night in Dallas. The series moves to Denver for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday.

Colorado goalie Patrick Roy was superb, especially in the game's final minutes when he stopped seven shots and facing constant pressure following Kamensky's tie-breaking goal. Roy made 30 saves.

Dallas' Ed Belfour, statistically the best among the four remaining playoff goalies, stopped 26 shots. Both goals he allowed were on rebounds during a scramble in front.

Kamensky's game-winner was set up by a hot shot from Peter Forsberg, who had tied the game late in the second period with his playoff-leading seventh goal.

Forsberg's shot bounced off Belfour and Kamensky skated straight at the goalie and tried him again. The puck bounced up and Kamensky put it in for his second goal of the playoffs.

Kamensky thought he had scored midway through the second period when his deflection of a shot by Claude Lemieux went between Belfour's legs.

Although the puck hit the inside of the post and came out, the Avalanche argued that it crossed the goal line and rebounded off a pad at the base of the net. The stuffing is supposed to be several inches back so close shots will stick in the net, but it extended almost all the way to the post.

The play was reviewed and called a no-goal, but officials apparently still had questions because they checked again. They decided the video was inconclusive and Dallas remained ahead, 1-0.

Forsberg's rebound goal with 5:53 left in the second period tied the game. Belfour had gone left to stop Lemieux, then stopped Kamensky in front when Forsberg skated around a group of players and knocked the puck behind Belfour.

After the period, two Reunion Arena crews worked on the nets while Colorado president-general manager Pierre Lacroix worked on the officials.

Lacroix confronted an official in a press box hallway, stopped to do a television interview, then chided the judge again. He was still fuming as he returned to his seat.

"You're going to have a hard time explaining that one,'' Lacroix said.

On the ice, workers made sure the padding was several inches from each side of the posts on both goals.

Dallas' only goal was an easy shot into an open net by Brett Hull midway through the first period.

Roy had left the crease to play the puck, but Mike Modano beat him to it. Modano made a perfect centering pass to Hull at the tip of the crease with no Colorado defenders in the vicinity.

It was Hull's third postseason goal and the assist gave Modano a point in his last four games. The goal was the first allowed by Colorado in the opening period in four games.

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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