Vancouver at Dallas

Linden, Canucks put Stars on verge of elimination


DALLAS -- When the replay slowed down on the overhead scoreboard and the Dallas Stars' home fans loudly registered their opinion, everyone on the Vancouver Canucks' bench paid no attention.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell said it didn't go in. And his word was good enough for them.

Officials agreed, too, ruling that Mitchell swept a trickling puck off the goal line with 2:33 left, preserving a 2-1 Vancouver victory Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in this first-round series.

"Willie came to the bench and said it wasn't in," Canucks center Trevor Linden said. "You always ask the guy who made the play. He's not going to lie to you."

"He's a pretty honest guy," added Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. "So I believed him."

A tight, scoreless game broke open midway through the third period, with Mattias Ohlund scoring for Vancouver and then Darryl Sydor answering soon after for Dallas. After Linden put the Canucks back ahead by shoveling a rebound past Marty Turco with 5:31 left in regulation, Stars center Mike Ribeiro did his best to tie it again.

Outskating two defenders, Ribeiro shot it right at Roberto Luongo. The puck bounced off the goaltender and began sliding oh-so-slowly toward the net, moving sideways. Mitchell got there just as it reached the goal line and swatted it away before it could cross, an opinion verified by the video review -- regardless of what the biased fans thought.

"I would have gone nuts if it was called a goal," Mitchell said.

Ribiero would've, too, but in a good way. It also would've been the first goal in this series from one of the Stars' top five goal-scorers in the regular season.

"Almost," he said. "It was close, but not there, not enough."

The Canucks head home knowing they may not have to make another long flight back to Texas. They can advance to the second round with a victory in Vancouver on Thursday night.

Dallas could be knocked out of the first round in five games for the third consecutive postseason. A big part of the Stars' problem has been an inability to win at home. This was their sixth home playoff loss in a row covering those three playoffs.

If they don't make it back, this may have been the last home game for coach Dave Tippett, perhaps general manager Doug Armstrong, too.

Turco was solid and sometimes spectacular, but it wasn't enough, not with the Stars wasting a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:55 in the first period and getting thwarted by Luongo on some of their few other good scoring chances.

"We've got to find a way," captain Brenden Morrow said. "We've got to be a team that plays to win every one-on-one battle. Until that changes, I don't think we'll have success. ... There were pucks laying around at our feet and those are pucks we have to come up with."

Turco went to the bench with 1:07 left, but the Stars still couldn't get anything past Luongo. Vancouver had a good chance for an open-net goal blocked. A 3-1 final in a Vancouver-Dallas game just wouldn't have been right anyway. This marked the sixth time in eight meetings that the teams finished 2-1; it happened in all four regular-season meetings and the last two games of this series.

Luongo finished with 26 saves, including three impressive ones in the final 30 seconds of the second period, the last coming with his legs parallel to the ice.

Turco had 27 saves, but appears headed toward his third consecutive series loss since winning the first of his career. Only 20 of the 210 teams that have fallen behind 3-1 in a series have come back to win it. It last happened in 2004.

"We can do it," Turco said. "We've played better when we've been down. I know you'll see more desperation out of us."

Mike Modano, the leading U.S.-born goal-scorer in NHL history, failed to record a shot despite leading all forwards in ice time and playing the second-most of all Dallas skaters. His extended action partly was due to Jussi Jokinen leaving with an undisclosed injury.


  • Vancouver took a penalty while on the power play for the eighth time this series.
  • A moment of silence was held for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting rampage and for Gaetan Duchesne, who helped the Minnesota North Stars reach the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals. He died Monday at age 44.
  • The wife of former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl "Moose" Johnston was cut on the head by a puck, but returned for the third period.
  • Stars fans go to vote for a song to hear during the second intermission. Canadian Idiot by Weird Al Yankovic easily beat out cuts from Canadian natives Celine Dion and Bryan Adams.
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Trevor Linden (center) enjoys the go-ahead goal with his teammates at the 14:29 mark of the third.  (AP)
Trevor Linden (center) enjoys the go-ahead goal with his teammates at the 14:29 mark of the third. (AP)
Related Links
Vancouver  (3-1-0) «0022
Dallas (1-3-0)0011
Three Stars
R. Luongo

Saves: 26
Save Pct.: .963
T. Pyatt

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
M. Turco

Saves: 27
Save Pct.: .931

Related Video

Scoring Summary
09:46Mattias Ohlund (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Bryan Smolinski, Taylor Pyatt
12:29Darryl Sydor, Slap Shot - Assist: Ladislav Nagy
14:29Trevor Linden, Snap Shot - Assists: Willie Mitchell, Taylor Pyatt
Penalty Summary
03:51Naslund: Tripping - 2 min.
07:13Krajicek: Hooking - 2 min.
10:20Norstrom: Holding - 2 min.
12:04Hagman: Roughing - 2 min.
12:04Bieksa: Roughing - 2 min.
13:09Cowan: Hooking - 2 min.
13:14Green: Delay of Game - 2 min.
18:29Daley: Tripping - 2 min.
07:13Smolinski: Roughing - 2 min.
07:13Turco: Roughing - 2 min.
07:33Modano: High sticking - 2 min.
09:43Boucher: Cross Check - 2 min.
10:34Salo: Hooking - 2 min.
12:54Lundqvist: Tripping - 2 min.
17:38Sedin: Hooking - 2 min.
20:00Ribeiro: Slashing - 2 min.
Roberto Luongo60:00261
Marty Turco58:40272
Game Information
Attendance - 18532
Referees - Wes McCauley, Brad Watson
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Jean Morin
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