Stars Push Blues to the Edge
By C. Bryson Hull
Saturday, May 15, 1999; 10:44 p.m. EDT DALLAS The Dallas Stars re-awakened an impotent power play, getting two man-advantage goals and a 30-save performance from Ed Belfour to push the St. Louis Blues to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
The victory gave Dallas a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series, which returns to St. Louis for Game 6 Monday night.
The Stars' power play, which is 4-for-26 in the series, went 2-for-5 Saturday night.
Belfour made it easy for Dallas to concentrate on offense, stopping 30 of 31 shots, including several strong Blues opportunities in the second half of the game.
Dallas continued to shut down the Blues' power play, even scoring a short-handed goal during St. Louis' first chance with the man advantage. The Blues went 0-for-4 on the power play.
With Jamie Langenbrunner off for roughing, Mike Modano beat two St. Louis defenders for the puck just inside his own blue line, sped up the right side and dished it cross-ice to Jere Lehtinen.
Lehtinen put a wrist shot past Grant Fuhr for his fifth goal of the playoffs just 3:47 into the game.
The Stars made it 2-0 with a power-play goal when Langenbrunner scored on a point-blank shot at 9:43 for his third goal of the playoffs. Darryl Sydor corralled a weak clearing attempt and passed to Modano in the corner and the Dallas center fed an open Langenbrunner for the score.
Modano, whose offensive play matched his tight defensive work, improved his team-leading point total to 10.
Joe Nieuwendyk tipped in Derian Hatcher's shot from the point for a power-play goal and 3-0 lead at 10:59 of the second. It was Nieuwendyk's team-leading sixth goal.
But the crowd had barely finished cheering Nieuwendyk when Scott Young flicked a weak shot between Belfour's legs for his fourth at 11:19 to make it 3-1.
Belfour's failure to stop Young was his only bad moment.
His best save of the game came on a point-blank wrist shot from a streaking Geoff Courtnall with 13:45 left to play. Belfour stacked his pads to stop the first shot, and went down again to corral the rebound from a crowd of players to his left.
Fuhr stopped 13 of 16 shots in the game.
The Blues blew some strong opportunities to score throughout, in spite of keeping Dallas under pressure for extended periods throughout the latter half of the game.
Most indicative of their futility was Pavol Demitra's inexplicable decision to pass the puck to the corner when he stood unmolested a few feet in front of a fallen Belfour and an open net about seven minutes into the period.
The Blues had a goal called back with 57 seconds left. Jochen Hecht was ruled to be in the crease when he scored.
That evened the Blues up with the Stars, who had a goal called back in Game 4. Pat Verbeek's goal late in that game would have given the Stars a 3-2 lead. Instead, they lost 3-2 in overtime.
Dallas got center and faceoff specialist Guy Carbonneau back from a knee injury. Carbonneau had not played since the first two games of the playoffs.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press