ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The high-flying Anaheim Mighty Ducks are heading to their first conference finals after disposing of another
The victory gave the Ducks an improbable 4-2 series win over
top-seeded Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals -- after
seventh-seeded Anaheim swept defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit
in the opening round.
Steve Thomas, who had a goal and two assists, said "surreal''
doesn't begin to describe what's going on with the Ducks.
"Surreal is an understatement,'' said Thomas, acquired from
Chicago at the March 11 trading deadline. "Beating Detroit was an
accomplishment. Now, to beat the Stars, it is amazing.''
Ducks rookie coach Mike Babcock thought so, too.
"This is beyond our wildest dreams,'' he said.
Dallas coach Dave Tippett was duly impressed by Anaheim.
"The Ducks played really well all series. They play like a team
and they don't turn the puck over,'' Tippett said. "They have a
great goalie and they give themselves a chance to win every night.''
Anaheim will face the Vancouver-Minnesota winner in the
conference final. The Canucks lead that series 3-2.
"I'm just going sit back, watch Game 6 (Canucks-Wild) and get
some rest,'' the Ducks' Paul Kariya said.
"Lucky bounces, a lucky rebound that went at Ozolinsh,'' the
Stars' Mike Modano said. "It is kind of how these playoffs have
gone for us.''
Morrow's goal was reviewed because Sergei Zubov's wrist shot
from 55 feet had bounced off Morrow's skate past goaltender
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and would not have counted if Morrow had
intentionally redirected the puck with his skate.
That goal counted, unlike the one the Stars thought they had
with 7:58 remaining. Stu Barnes put the puck past Giguere at close
range, but after a review, the goal was disallowed because
officials ruled that the net was dislodged just before the shot.
Defenseman Ruslan Salei had given the Ducks a 3-2 edge early in
the third period with his first goal of the playoffs.
Niko Kapanen had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who were
trying to become the third team this spring to come back to win a
series after falling behind 3-1.
Giguere, who had been sensational in his first postseason but
was benched after two periods of the Stars' 4-1 victory in Game 5
on Saturday, had 26 saves as the Ducks finished off Dallas.
Stars goalie Marty Turco gave up the four Anaheim goals while
facing 26 shots.
Emulating the Anaheim Angels' run to their first World Series
title last fall, the Ducks are on a scintillating postseason roll
of their own. Walt Disney Co. owns both the Ducks and Angels,
although the company has agreed in principle to sell the baseball
team to Arizona businessman Arturo Moreno, and has the hockey team
up for sale.
The Ducks are in the postseason for only the third time since
entering the league as an expansion franchise in 1993. They were
swept by Detroit in the second round in 1997, then the Red Wings
swept them again in the first round in 1999.
Anaheim's Stanislav Chistov snapped a 1-1 tie with his third
goal of this postseason, in the second period. Skating just in
front of the crease, Chistov picked up a loose puck, kept gliding
to his right, then looped a backhander over the sprawling Turco.
Thomas' 53rd career playoff goal, his second this year, came
when he was alone skating down the left side of the slot. He took
Ozolinsh's perfect pass, patiently waited until the Dallas goalie
went down and wristed a shot over Turco.
Kapanen set up the Stars' first goal with a pass from the right
corner across the crease. Kirk Muller had only to redirect the puck
Midway through the third period, the video board showed
Scott Spiezio's dramatic three-run homer in Game 6 of the World
Series, then showed the Angels' first baseman sitting in a luxury
suite holding his son. The caption read, "Game 6 kharma.' The
Angels were off Monday. ... Salei's first career playoff goal also
was the first scored by an Anaheim defenseman in the team's 10
games this postseason. ... Minnesota came back from a 3-1 playoff
deficit to win its series against Colorado this spring, and
Vancouver did the same against St. Louis.