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Nieuwendyk Up to His Old Tricks

May 24, 2000|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Joe Nieuwendyk is again coming through for the Dallas Stars when they need him most.

Nieuwendyk redirected a long blast from Richard Matvichuk 12:10 into overtime Tuesday night, giving the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and putting the Stanley Cup champions within a win of returning to the finals.

"We had some good luck there," Nieuwendyk said. "It seemed like the only way to get to the net is to outrace a guy. I was able to do that and just got my stick on it."

Nieuwendyk beat rookie Martin Skoula to get just enough of the puck to send it past Colorado goalie Patrick Roy. Dallas holds a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals. Game 6 is Thursday night in Denver.

Nieuwendyk was the MVP of the playoffs last year after tying an NHL record with six postseason game-winners.

His goal Tuesday was the Stars' first this series without Brett Hull, Mike Modano or Jere Lehtinen on the ice. The trio came up big in the second period, though. Lehtinen and Hull each scored and Modano assisted on both goals.

Stars' goalie Ed Belfour also had another outstanding night, stopping 29 shots.

Belfour played his best when time was running out. He blocked five shots during a power play in the final minutes of regulation, then in overtime turned away Joe Sakic on a breakaway and handled a three-shot flurry from Sakic and Dave Andreychuk. Andreychuk chopped his stick at the ice in frustration when it ended.

"That's my job, to come up with the big saves," said Belfour, who has won 10 of his last 11 home playoff games. "I got a couple of saves there, I got maybe a little lucky, and we needed that."

Roy, who gave up four goals in the first 11 shots in Game 4, failed to protect a 1-0 lead and had some shaky moments. He was solid in overtime, though, turning away several strong shots before Nieuwendyk scored.

Colorado's power play remained stagnant. The Avalanche went 0 for 4 for the second straight game, and is 1 for 18 in the last three games.

Hull tied former New York Islander Mike Bossy for fifth place on the career postseason list with 85 goals when he scored late in the second period to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.

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