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Game 1 Victory for Stars

April 12, 2001|From Associated Press

Once again, the Dallas Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers.

Once again, they did it by the slimmest of margins.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored off his long rebound 2:18 into overtime, giving Dallas a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in a first-round playoff game at Dallas.

While this was the Stars' 13th victory in their last 15 playoff games against the Oilers, it was the 10th time Dallas won by one goal.

"There's a fine line between these teams right now and we're very fortunate to be on the right side of it," Star Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We don't want it to stop. If it gets turned the other way, you never know, you might not be able to stop it."

The Stars have won 13 consecutive games against the Oilers at Reunion Arena, where the series continues Saturday night.

"Our goal coming in here was to get a game, and we still have that option open," Oiler Coach Craig MacTavish said. "I don't think the loss tonight did anything to detract from our opinion of our ability to do that."

Mike Modano also scored for the Stars, who came into the playoffs on a 13-game unbeaten streak.

Dallas, seeking to become the first team to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup finals since the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton clubs from 1983-85, has eliminated the Oilers from the last three playoffs. This is the fifth consecutive season the teams are meeting in the playoffs.

"They're a team that's looking for confidence, so you want to keep them down and not let them get that confidence," Modano said.

Buffalo 2, Philadelphia 1--Roman Cechmanek's dominance of the Sabres ran out at Philadelphia.

Chris Gratton and Doug Gilmour scored, and Dominik Hasek stopped 31 shots--including Mark Recchi's first-period penalty shot--for the Sabres in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Cechmanek, who gave up only two goals in a four-game sweep of the Sabres during the regular season, gave up two soft goals in the first period. He made 21 saves.

Gratton, a former Flyer, gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead only two seconds after Philadelphia killed a penalty early in the first. Gratton's point-blank shot handcuffed Cechmanek, bounced off the his chest and slowly trickled into the net.

The goal came on Buffalo's second shot. Cechmanek, previously best known as Hasek's backup on the 1998 gold-medal winning Czech Republic Olympic team, stopped 100 of 102 shots against the Sabres in the regular season.

Cechmanek, playing in his first NHL season at age 30, won 34 games, recorded 10 shutouts, had a 2.01 goals-against average and became the first goalie to beat Hasek four times in a season.

None of it mattered as the Sabres and Flyers began their fifth playoff series in seven years.

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