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Havlat's hat trick not enough for Senators

2/27/2003

DALLAS (AP) -- If the Stanley Cup finals can be as wide open and
entertaining as Monday night's matchup between the best teams in
the each conference, then hockey fans are in for a treat.

Mike Modano had two goals and an assist, and Bill Guerin got the
game-winner when he redirected Sergei Zubov's shot from the blue
line with 5:24 left as the West-leading Dallas Stars beat the
East-leading Ottawa Senators 5-3 Monday night.

Martin Havlat's third career hat trick helped Ottawa take leads
of 2-0 and 3-2. His third goal came 64 seconds after Dallas tied it
with goals 41 seconds apart.

Despite a combined eight goals on 48 shots, there also was some
great goaltending, giving a sold-out crowd plenty to cheer about in
a game that certainly lived up to its billing as a showdown between
the two top teams in the NHL.

"It was an exciting game for the fans and to play in,'' said
Brenden Morrow, who had the Stars' first goal midway through the
second quarter after clanking one into the post in the game's
opening minutes. "It was a lot of up-and-down hockey and some good
goals.''

Havlat's hot start gave the bankrupt Senators a chance to deal a
strong blow against the rich Stars, whose payroll is twice as big.

Instead, Ottawa lost when leading after two periods for the
first time since Jan. 20, 2002, they remain one point ahead of
Dallas (71-70) with a game in hand in the race for the Presidents'
Trophy. The teams meet again Feb. 27 in Ottawa.

"We knew it was a big game,'' Senators goalie Patrick Lalime
said. "We had our chances, but we could've been a little better.
When we take the lead into the third, we're usually pretty good.
Tonight, I don't know if we backed off or what.''

Dallas has lost only twice at home in regulation, but dropped
its last game at the American Airlines Center. When Havlat scored
on a power play late in the second period, the Stars were in
jeopardy of their first home losing streak.

Instead, they started the third period aggressively, with Guerin
and Jason Arnott getting good scoring chances in the first two
minutes. They continued going after Lalime on a power play shortly
after that, but the goalie kept making nice plays.

Scott Young, who scored the winning goal in Dallas' last three
victories, finally beat Lalime by knocking a puck through traffic
from just outside the crease to tie it with 10:45 left. Guerin's
goal put the Stars ahead for the first time.

Lalime left the net in the final minute to give the Senators an
extra attacker, but Dallas got the puck out to center ice and
Modano slid it from far out to seal just their fifth comeback win
in 14 tries when trailing after two periods.

"We were trying to keep the score at 3-2 and we weren't able to
finish it,'' Havlat said. "They got a lucky goal on a shot from
the blue line and our goalie didn't see it.''

Havlat, who scored twice in Ottawa's 6-3 victory over Dallas in
the only meeting last season, has 17 goals this season. He became
the first opponent to record a hat trick at the Stars' new arena
and had the first against Dallas since St. Louis' Corey Stillman
did it Jan. 5, 2002.

"It's nice to score like that, but when you don't win, it's not
as nice,'' Havlat said.

Lalime made 28 saves and lost for the second time in his last
eight games (5-2-1). The Senators were 21-0-3 when leading after
two periods.

"We felt like we were getting a lot of opportunities, so we
just tried to stay with it,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
"They're a real good team with a lot of balance. It was a good
test of our team and I think our guys responded well.''

Dallas goalie Marty Turco faced only 15 shots, but among his 12
saves were several great ones. The All-Star reserve made two in
rapid succession during a late third-period power play and earlier
used his glove to punch away a puck flying over him.

Turco is 8-0 against Canadian teams this season and is unbeaten
in his last 11 games overall (8-0-3). The Stars are 11-1-3 in their
last 15, dating to Dec. 26.

Game notes
Ottawa D Wade Redden was scratched because of a viral
infection. ... Dallas' Claude Lemieux was scratched for the second
straight game because of a slightly herniated disc in his neck. He
will be out Wednesday night, too, and will have another week after
that to recover thanks to the All-Star break. ... Dallas has
trailed 1-0 in nine of its last 11 games and 15 of 19.