<
>

Without Modano, Stars send Ducks a message

4/3/2003

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars sent out a strong message to Anaheim, a potential first-round playoff opponent: They can come back and win even without Mike Modano.

With Modano out of the game because of an injury, Jason Arnott
and Derian Hatcher scored third-period goals to lead Dallas past
the Mighty Ducks 2-1 on Wednesday night.

"Without him, it's pretty tough to win, but everybody picked it up,'' Arnott said. "The first couple of periods, we were a little slow, but then we all picked it up.''

Modano, the Stars' leading scorer with 28 goals and 56 assists,
left in the second period with what the team called a lower-body
injury. Coach Dave Tippett said the injury wasn't serious, but
didn't elaborate.

"If that's a playoff game, he probably plays. But we decided to keep him out,'' Tippett said. "That's not an injury that will be lengthy at all.''

That means if the Stars and Mighty Ducks meet in the playoffs
next week, Modano should be on the ice.

"But it was nice to see we could win without him,'' said Scott
Young, who assisted on Arnott's goal.

Hatcher's eighth goal, a 25-foot wrist shot in the slot with
11:18 left, was the difference for the Stars, who remained the top
team in the Western Conference with 109 points and one game left.

The Stars will be the No. 1 or 2 seed when the playoffs begin
next week. Detroit has 106 points with two games left, and holds
the tiebreaker against Dallas.

Despite its first regulation loss in seven games, the Mighty
Ducks remained sixth in the Western Conference. Their
franchise-record 94 points kept them a point ahead of Minnesota, a
3-0 loser at Columbus on Wednesday night, and three in front of
eighth-place Edmonton.

"We had our chances and didn't bury them,'' Anaheim coach Mike
Babcock said. "A loss at this time of year can be a good thing
because it allows your team to stop, refocus and prepare for the
playoffs.''

Modano appeared to be limping when he walked through the tunnel
toward the locker room. It was unclear if Modano had a leg injury
or possibly strained his back. He returned briefly before the end
of the second period, but was only on the ice for a moment before
leaving for good.

Modano, an All-Star starter for the first time this season,
initially left after being shoved awkwardly to the ice by Adam
Oates after a faceoff between the two early in the second.

Hatcher put the winner past Martin Gerber, who got a piece of
the puck before it slid into the right post and trickled past the
line. Gerber stopped 29 shots.

Marty Turco stopped 26 of 27 shots and lowered his goals-against
average to 1.76, just below the NHL record of 1.77 set by Chicago's
Tony Esposito in 1971-72 and Toronto's Al Rollins in 1950-51. Turco
will break the record if he allows two goals or less in Sunday's
season finale against Nashville, if he plays.

"I don't plan on sitting out any more games, but we'll wait and see,'' Turco said.

Turco had three game-saving stops within a 28-second span late,
the first when Anaheim leading scorer Paul Kariya had a shot from
right in front with 5:43 left. Then, Petr Sykora had a rebound shot
and got another chance off his own deflection before Turco
controlled the puck.

The Stars tied it 1-1 with Arnott's power-play goal with 15:39
left, just 26 seconds into the penalty. He redirected Sergei
Zubov's from the right point.

"I couldn't see where it came from,'' Gerber said.

Anaheim's only goal was Sandis Ozolinsh's power-play goal 2:12
into the second, in the same sequence in which Modano was hurt.
Stars defenseman Lyle Odelein was called for cross-checking on the
same play Modano left the ice.

Dallas thought it tied it in the second when Arnott slapped a
rebound past Gerber. But the whistle had already been blown because
of a penalty on the initial shot, when Ulf Dahlen shot falling down
after being hooked by Rob Niedermayer.

Game notes
Dallas has won eight games this season when trailing after
two periods, one less than Toronto's NHL-record nine this season.
... Before the game, two Air Force majors presented the Stars with
a U.S. flag that flew over Iraq during a combat mission on Dec. 23,
2002. ... Arnott has scored 25 of his 56 points in the third period
or overtime. ... The Ducks, who end the regular season at home
Friday, finished with 18 road wins, one short of the franchise
record.