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Turco allows two goals within a 3:48 span

4/11/2003

DALLAS (AP) -- A sneaky slap shot and a well-executed break.

With
those two plays early in the second period, the eighth-seeded
Edmonton Oilers grabbed a long-awaited series lead over their
postseason nemesis, the top-seeded Dallas Stars.

Ryan Smyth popped a short-handed goal between the legs of
record-setting goaltender Marty Turco, then Shawn Horcoff beat his
glove, sending the Oilers to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in the
opener of their first-round series.

Edmonton leads the Stars in the playoffs for the first time
since 1997, when the Oilers won in seven games. Dallas won
postseason meetings in 1998, '99, 2000 and '01 and never trailed in
any of those series. Game 2 is Friday night.

"It's only the first game," Horcoff said, "but it's
definitely gratifying."

The Oilers came in thinking their best chance to pull off the
upset would be to get to Turco early in his first playoff game. He
looked solid in turning away seven first-period shots and was
bolstered by a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Mike Modano.

Then Turco allowed two goals within a 3:48 span early in the
second period and Dallas never recovered. A spurt of penalties in
the third left the Stars down at least one man the final 4:06,
draining their comeback hopes.

"We surprised ourselves," said Modano, who hit a post early in
the first and was stymied by Tommy Salo in the third period. "We
had a chance to take control, but we didn't do it. We need to
generate more chances. We need more than one goal."

Salo stopped 20 shots to earn just his fourth win in 16 playoff
games. He made a flurry of saves early and late.

"Every game is going to be tight against them, but if we play
like this we'll be able to beat them," he said.

Turco made 21 saves, including several big ones. But the two
times his defense let him down, he wasn't able to live up to the
expectations raised by a regular season in which he set an NHL
record for goals-against average and led the league in save
percentage.

"I felt pretty good in terms of nerves," Turco said. "We
certainly learned a lesson. We're in for a battle."

Smyth's goal was the kind you might expect against a
nerve-racked playoff rookie.

The puck came flying into the Dallas zone, and an unchecked
Smyth had his eye and stick on it all the way down.

"I just followed it in the air, whacked at it and I saw it
squeak through his legs," Smyth said.

Smyth didn't get all of the puck, which worked to his advantage.

"I was ready for a shot," Turco said. "He missed it more than
anything else. I lifted my stick too early. It was a bad goal."

Horcoff scored off a pass from Brad Isbister. Stephane Robidas
was the only defender back and couldn't break up the play. Turco
came out to play the shot but didn't get set in time.

"Any shot from the outside, I feel I can stop," Turco said.

In addition to coming in with a better record and better recent
history, the Stars came in on more of a roll. They were 7-0-0-2
with wins in four straight, while the Oilers closed at 1-1-3.

Dallas also had a better first period. But mistakes led to those
two second-period goals, and three third-period penalties made it
harder to rally.

Claude Lemieux was penalized for roughing with 4:06 left, then
Derian Hatcher received a five-minute major and a game misconduct
for elbowing Steve Staios. Brenden Morrow was penalized earlier in
the period.

Because Edmonton's power play was able to keep the puck in the
Dallas zone, Turco wasn't able to head to the bench in favor of an
extra skater.

Lemieux was acquired for his postseason pedigree and ability to
get under opponents' skin. This time, his aggressiveness worked
against his team.

"He's a hard playoff player," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said.
"He got caught. That's something you have to live with."

Game notes
This also was the first postseason game for Dallas coach
Dave Tippett and the American Airlines Center, a $420 million
building that opened last season. ... This is the first time the
Oilers have won Game 1 of a series against the Stars franchise
since 1984. ... Five players have been on the ice for all six
series in the last seven years: Mike Modano, Darryl Sydor and
Richard Matvichuk for Dallas, and Ryan Smyth and Todd Marchant for
Edmonton. ... The Stars roster came in with 1,683 games of playoff
experience. The Oilers had 251 _ including 131 against Dallas.

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