DENVER (AP) Matt Duchene took off down the ice, slid on his knees and pumped his right glove.

That's what the video will show anyway. Because his big moment was pretty much a big blur. He just knows what it meant: The Dallas Stars are heading back to the Western Conference final.

Duchene scored at 11:42 of the second overtime after being involved in a play that led to a goal disallowed for goaltender interference in the first extra period, and the Stars advanced with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 on Friday night.

Duchene, a 2009 draft pick of the Avalanche, secured a loose puck in front of the net and sent it over a sprawled out Alexandar Georgiev to start the celebration. He was too exhausted, too caught up in the moment, to take it all in.

“Just elation,” Duchene said. "I was so tired, I started skating and then I got tired. I don’t even know what I did after that, to be honest with you. I was pretty pumped up.”

In the locker room after the game, the Stars celebrated by blaring an almost fitting tune - “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver.

Dallas advances to face either Edmonton or Vancouver next. It’s the second straight trip to the conference final for the Stars, who lost last season to eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas. The Stars won their only Stanley Cup title in 1999.

“The dream's still alive,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said.

Jamie Benn tied the score at 1:56 of the third period.

Mason Marchment thought he scored the winner with 7:29 left in the first overtime but it was waved off for goaltender interference. The play was reviewed and the call on the ice stood. Duchene was jostling with Cale Makar in front of Georgiev, leading to a call. The NHL’s situation room explained that Duchene impaired Georgiev’s ability to play his position in the crease.

“The explanation that I got was Dutchie’s (bottom) was over the line. His feet were outside but his (bottom) was over the line,” Marchment explained. “I think honestly, they didn’t want to make it a deciding goal. ... At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. We got the job done. It’s awesome.”

Jake Oettinger was stellar all night in making 29 saves. One of his biggest was a close-range shot from Artturi Lehkonen down low midway through the second OT.

“He was fabulous,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said of his goaltender.

This was a series in which the road team won five of six games, including the Stars taking all three in Denver. The Avalanche were the top home team in the regular season, while the Stars had the best road record.

It was a difficult end to what was a tumultuous postseason for Colorado, with Valeri Nichushkin suspended before Game 4 for violating terms of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

“A devastating result,” Makar said of the Game 6 loss. “The year being where we all feel like we have a team that with all of our pieces can make a push for the whole thing.”

Colorado scored the opening goal of the game for the first time in the series when Mikko Rantanen sent a wrist shot over Oettinger early in the second period on a power play.

Makar had an assist to give him 80 career playoff points in 72 games played. He’s the fifth defenseman in NHL history to amass 80 career postseason points in 80 or fewer games, joining Bobby Orr (66 games), Paul Coffey (67), Brian Leetch (70) and Al MacInnis (71).

Both teams were missing forwards, with Roope Hintz out for Dallas and Yakov Trenin for Colorado.

“We fought hard,” said Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, a Hart Trophy finalist who had four goals and 10 assists in the postseason run. “The effort was there the whole season.”

It's the end of hockey for Zach Parise, who's calling it a career. He was drafted by the New Jersey in 2003 and once played for DeBoer while both were with the Devils. They shared a moment after the game.

“I loved playing for him. He’s a world-class coach,” Parise said. “He’s the type of guy, now that we’re out, you cheer for him.”



Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.