Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Minnesota leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 17th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 27th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 12th
Game 4: Friday, March 21st

Wild 3

(38-25-1, 87 pts)

Stars 2

(40-17-3, 98 pts)

8:30 PM ET, March 21, 2003

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 OT T
MIN 1 0 1 13
DAL 0 0 2 02

M. Fernandez (Wild - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .944

W. Walz (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Young (Stars - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Walz's OT goal prevents Stars from clinching Pacific

DALLAS (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild might be only a third-year expansion team, but they have plenty of momentum for a possible first-round Western Conference playoff matchup against the Dallas Stars.

Mike Modano

Dallas' Mike Modano, bottom, gets the worst of a collision with Minnesota's Pascal Dupuis.

Wes Walz's goal with 3:30 left in overtime gave the Wild a 3-2 victory Friday night over Dallas, preventing the Stars from winning the Pacific Division title.

The Wild is 3-1-0 this season against the Stars, who left Minnesota for Texas prior to the 1993-94 season.

''There's a chance we could be playing them in the playoffs, so you don't want to give them a mental edge,'' Walz said.

Scott Young scored twice in the third period for Dallas, including the tying goal with 3:31 left in regulation.

But Walz got around Dallas defenseman Sergei Zubov and notched his 13th goal, firing from the slot over the left shoulder of Stars goaltender Ron Tugnutt.

Walz's line was at the end of a shift, but Walz decided to remain on the ice when he saw teammate Richard Park take possession of the puck in the Dallas zone.

''I probably should have changed, but I stayed on,'' Walz said. ''(Park) put one on my stick and I was able to slip it past Zubov. I tried to go over (Tugnutt's) shoulder because I figured he was going down.''

Pascal Dupuis' power play deflection with 9:01 remaining in regulation gave the Wild into a 2-1 lead.

But Young countered with his 20th of the season, beating Minnesota's Manny Fernandez from the bottom of the right circle to make it 2-2.

Fernandez made 34 saves as Minnesota improved to 4-1-1-1 in its past seven games. The Wild opened a stretch of four consecutive against Western Conference powers Dallas, Detroit and St. Louis.

''We had a goalie that stood out tonight,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. ''When you play a tough team like that, you need a goaltender to give you a chance.''

With a victory, the Stars could have eliminated the second-place Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the Pacific. The slumping Stars, 1-3-0-1 in their past five games, pushed their advantage over Anaheim to 11 points with the point for overtime.

''Obviously we got a lot of shots on net, so we're disappointed in the loss,'' Young said.

Jeremy Stevenson scored his fourth goal of the season early in the first period and Fernandez made it hold up until Young's blast from the point at 2:02 of the third period tied it at 1.

Stars center and leading scorer Mike Modano left the game at 9:01 of the second period after being hit in the back by Dupuis' elbow. Modano returned a little more than six minutes later.

No penalty was called on the play. Stars fans were upset with the game officials when team captain Derian Hatcher got a double minor for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct at 13:24 of the second period after a hit on Andrei Zyuzin.

When play stopped during the ensuing power play, booing fans littered the ice with programs and other debris.

The Stars received a standing ovation when they allowed only one shot and killed the four-minute power play.

''Mike getting hit from behind I thought was a penalty,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. ''That started the frustrations.''

Tugnutt stopped 18 shots for the Stars, who anticipate the return of All-Star goaltender Marty Turco from the injured list next week. Turco missed his 18th consecutive game due to a sprained ankle.

The Stars also are without power forward Bill Guerin, sidelined for the rest of the regular season with a thigh injury.

Minnesota struck first at 6:16 of the opening period when Stevenson was alone in front of the net and deflected Cliff Ronning's shot past Tugnutt. Dallas held a 14-5 shots edge in the first period but couldn't beat Fernandez.

The Stars continued to get the puck on net, but Fernandez maintained his shutout despite Dallas' 27-9 shots advantage after two periods.

Game notes

Young has five goals in his last three games. He has surpassed his goal output of last season (19). ...The Stars honored former forwards Neal Broten and Pat Verbeek. ... Modano has a five-game points streak. ...Fernandez is a former Stars backup. He also beat his former team on March 12 in St. Paul, 4-2. ...Minnesota is 19-0-1 when leading after the first period and 27-0-1 when in front after two periods.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press