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Lehtinen helps Stars put chink in Ducks' armor

4/29/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Dallas Stars finally figured out a
way to beat the Mighty Ducks -- win ugly.

Jere Lehtinen scored both Dallas goals, and Marty Turco stopped
31 shots Monday night as the Stars defeated Anaheim 2-1 in their
Western Conference semifinal series.

"We did not play nearly as good as the first games,'' Dallas
coach Dave Tippett said following the Stars' first victory after
losses in the opening two games. "It's funny how this game goes
sometime. That's exactly what we needed -- an ugly win.

"On the positive side, we got ourselves back in the series and
can get some momentum from the win.''

The Ducks lost for the first time in this postseason. They swept
the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in the opening series
before winning the first two against Dallas.

"Give them full marks,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said of the
Stars. "We have a series now.''

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in
Anaheim, with the fifth game in Dallas on Saturday.

Lehtinen, who beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere on a rebound in the
opening minutes of the game, snapped a 1-1 tie when he deflected a
shot by Derian Hatcher past the Mighty Ducks goaltender on a power
play at 3:41 of the second period.

Hatcher fired a slap shot from the right point, and Lehtinen,
stationed just outside the crease, was credited with the goal when
the puck caromed off his shin pad and slid between the goalie's
legs.

The goal was the third of the playoffs and 20th of his career
for Lehtinen, who twice received the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top
defensive forward. He scored a career-high 31 goals for the Stars
during the regular season.

Tippett said Lehtinen is a coach's dream.

"I think he's one of the top 10 forwards in the world,'' the
coach said. "He has the ability to score, and he's probably the
top defensive forward in the league.''

Lehtinen said, "I was fortunate to get the two goals, but it
was most important to get the win.''

Then there was Turco, who withstood a late assault by the Ducks
and made a variety of fine saves -- including swatting one shot away
backhand with his stick, then immediately batting away a shot from
the other side off the rebound during the third period.

"Turco was very good. To win in the playoffs, you need your
goalie to be very good and that's exactly what happened tonight,''
Tippett said.

Giguere made 30 saves and had no real chance to stop the two
shots that got past him.

"Both goalies were really solid,'' Babcock said. "We had some
great opportunities to tie the score and Turco made some great
saves. They had some great opportunities to take a 3-1 lead, but
Giguere made some great saves.''

Anaheim won the series opener 4-3 early in the fifth overtime,
the fourth longest game in NHL history. The Ducks won Game 2 early
in the first overtime, taking a 3-2 victory.

In the first round, Anaheim won twice in overtime.

After Lehtinen scored 2:24 in to give Dallas a quick lead, Steve
Rucchin tied it on a power play at 16:09.

Rucchin, alone near the goal line on the right side, took a pass
from Paul Kariya, skated in on Turco and shot from five feet. The
puck slid across the crease, struck Richard Matvichuk's skate and
deflected into the net behind Turco.

The goal, Rucchin's third, was only Anaheim's second power-play
goal in 25 opportunities in the postseason.

Niko Kapanen began the sequence that led to the Stars' first
goal, taking a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Giguere
moved to his left and blocked the shot with his left skate, but the
puck bounced out to Rob DiMaio. DiMaio wristed a shot right back,
but Giguere managed to extend his right leg and stop it with his
skate.

Again, the puck bounced out in front of the crease and Lehtinen
quickly knocked it into the net before Giguere could get back into
position.

The Stars, the top seed in the West, beat No. 8 Edmonton in six
games in the opening round of the playoffs.

The seventh-seeded Ducks are in the postseason for the third
time since coming into the league in 1993. Anaheim was swept by the
Red Wings in the second round in 1997 and first round in 1999, then
turned the tables this year.

Game notes
Dallas RW Bill Guerin, who had been out because of thigh
surgery, was in the lineup for the first time Feb. 27. ... The
Anaheim fans booed each time Dallas' Mike Modano touched the puck.
Modano complained after Game 2 that the Stars' arms looked like
those of "heroin addicts,'' because the referees were letting the
Ducks get away with hooking and slashing. ... The two-goal game in
the playoffs was the second for Lehtinen, who has played 74
postseason games.