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Dallas defeats Oilers for fifth straight time in playoffs

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- The Dallas Stars knocked the Edmonton
Oilers out of the playoffs again.

When Mike Modano put the finishing touches on a 3-2 victory
Saturday night over the Oilers in Game 6, the Stars advanced to the
Western Conference semifinals. They also eliminated Edmonton from
the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons.

"We were holding on for dear life," Modano said.

What hurt so much this year for the eighth-seeded Oilers is that
they believed in their hearts they could beat the top-seeded Stars.

The only time the Oilers have beaten the Stars in the previous
six times they have met in the playoffs was 1997.

Top-seeded Dallas will play the No. 7 Anaheim Mighty Ducks in
the Western Conference semifinals. Anaheim stunned Detroit by
sweeping the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings in that first-round
series.

The Stars scored first Saturday, as they did in five previous
games, and got a timely goal. Modano scored the game-winner with
6:52 left.

Modano said the last five minutes were tense, but just like they
have in the past, the Stars persevered.

"It is a fine line," he said. "It's right to the bitter end
every time we play them. It could teeter-totter one way or the
other. It could go against us real quick as much as it has gone for
us.

"There's no die in the vocabulary of the team. They have a lot
of heart and will."

Stars forward Kirk Muller said it was as difficult as expected.

"We said at the start of the series it was going to be tough.
They had a good, young team," he said. "We got timely goals. We
scored some early goals that really gave us the momentum. We knew
coming in here how hard it would be and we were prepared for it."

Despite being there through all the years of failure, Oilers
veteran Ryan Smyth said the Oilers really believed they could win
this time. Edmonton led the series 2-1 before dropping three
straight.

"We had our chances at the beginning," he said. "It is
frustrating when they beat us again. One of these years we're going
to learn and we're going to beat them."

Defenseman Steve Staios was very disappointed.

"When you build the belief system in the locker room that you
can win a series and you don't get it done, it feels empty. It is
tough to swallow," he said. "The most frustrating thing was that
it was these guys again. They seem to have our number in the
playoffs."

Todd Marchant, who scored the game-winner the only year the
Oilers knocked the Stars out, said the team believed they could do
it again.

"Everybody had high expectations coming into this series," he
said.
Georges Laraque said the Oilers were determined to press Dallas
to a seventh game.

"We really thought we would get that third goal, but they got
it before we did," he said. "They have a lot of experience those
guys. They don't get nervous. Let's not kid ourselves. We were
playing the best team in the league."

Modano's goal, his fourth of the series, sent the Stars into the
second round.

The Stars looked like they would walk away with the game early,
but the Oilers came back in the second period to tie it 2-2.

Dallas opened the scoring as they did in five of the six games.

Just 43 seconds in, Scott Young notched his fourth of the playoffs
when his shot from behind the net banked in off goalie Tommy Salo.
Modano and Sergei Zubov assisted.

Defenseman Philippe Boucher made it 2-0 midway through the first
period when he ripped a shot from the top of the circle off the
post and into the net. The puck hit the center bar in the net and
bounced out.

Salo stopped Brenden Morrow on a breakaway in the first period.

The Oilers outshot Dallas 10-9 in the first period, but theStars dominated play.

Edmonton started the second period with a little more jump and
were rewarded when Smyth went into the crease after Laraque's
rebound and whacked the puck past a sprawling Marty Turco. Smyth's
goal at 2:22 was his second of the playoffs.

The Oilers tied it on a pretty passing play after rookie Jason
Chimera, subbing for injured forward Radek Dvorak, raced down the
wing and passed to a charging Mike York. York pirouetted and passed
the puck to Shawn Horcoff, who rifled it past Turco at 8:34 of the
second period. It was Horcoff's third goal of the series.

The Oilers outshot the Stars 32-24.
Game notes
The Stars were without injured forwards Bill Guerin, Pierre
Turgeon and Jason Arnott. ... Former Oilers G Grant Fuhr watched
the game from the stands. ... The Oilers inserted rookie D
Marc-Andre Bergeron into the lineup to bolster a power play that
was only 1-for-20 after the first five games. Scott Ferguson was
the odd D out. ... Going into Saturday, the Stars' top line of
Modano, Morrow and Young outscored the Oilers line of Smyth, Todd
Marchant and Ales Hemsky 16-3. ... Dvorak underwent surgery
Wednesday to repair a broken right hand. He also dislocated a
finger when he missed a check on Jere Lehtinen and fell awkwardly
into the boards.