Blues move one game from sweep of Stars

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- The Dallas Stars' drive for a third straight Stanley Cup finals appearance is in serious jeopardy.

Cory Stillman scored at 9:26 of the second overtime as the St. Louis Blues won 3-2 to take a 3-0 series lead Tuesday night in the Western Conference semifinal series.

After winning the first two games at Dallas, the Blues can advance at home, where they had the NHL's best regular-season record, in Game 4 Thursday night.

The Blues are looking for their first trip to the conference finals since 1986, when they lost in seven games to Calgary.

St. Louis outshot the Stars 6-1 in the second overtime. It was the first of 19 overtime games in this year's NHL playoffs to require a second extra period.

Dallas won the Stanley Cup two years ago and lost in the finals to New Jersey last year. The Devils closed out the finals last year with a double-overtime victory.

Stillman, a late-season pickup from Calgary, scored his third goal of the postseason. Scott Mellanby left a drop pass for Stillman, who put a wrist shot between Ed Belfour's pads.

Alexander Khavanov's first career playoff goal, with 2:15 left in regulation, capped the Blues' comeback from a two-goal deficit and forced overtime. Khavanov, a 29-year-old first-year player who had seven goals in the regular season, was alone at the left circle even though Jamal Mayers flubbed his centering pass, and beat Belfour with a high drive.

After Brett Hull's power-play goal at 7:53 of the second period, the Blues outshot the Stars 22-5 the rest of regulation.

Devils 3, Maple Leafs 2 OT

TORONTO -- Brian Rafalski's centering pass deflected in off the skate of Toronto defenseman Cory Cross seven minutes into overtime, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Rafalski also set up Scott Gomez's game-tying goal, and Bobby Holik scored for the Devils, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 4 is Thursday at Toronto.

The Maple Leafs dropped their second straight playoff game after winning the first five.

It was an unlikely finish to an entertaining game.

Holik won a faceoff just inside the Maple Leafs blue line, and got the puck back to Rafalski, who took the puck up the right side boards.

Rafalski attempted to send a pass through the middle, but the puck hit Cross' skate and slid through the legs of goalie Curtis Joseph.

Garry Valk, in his first appearance in these playoffs, and Steve Thomas scored for the Maple Leafs.

Two nights after allowing a combined 11 goals, Joseph and Devils goalie Martin Brodeur were sharp.

Joseph had the busier night, making 42 saves. Brodeur stopped 26 shots.

Despite being outshot 41-25 through regulation, the Maple Leafs came out firing in the overtime only to be foiled by Brodeur.

After Devils defenseman Colin White mishandled the puck at his own blue line, Toronto's Gary Roberts burst in and got two shots off. The first was stopped by Brodeur, and the second floated over the net.

On Toronto's next rush, Mats Sundin redirected a bouncing shot from in close only to have Brodeur kick out his left pad to make the stop.

Both teams squandered one-goal leads, two nights after the Devils blew a three-goal lead in the third period of Game 2. New Jersey salvaged a 6-5 overtime victory in that one on Randy McKay's goal.

After Holik opened the scoring Tuesday with a power-play goal midway through the first period, the Maple Leafs scored twice in less than three minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Both goals came on second-chance opportunities.

Valk, playing his first game in more than a month, converted Danny Markov's rebound to tie it at 8:52 of the second.

Thomas, with his fourth goal in three games, then slapped in the rebound off Roberts' bad-angle shot for a power-play goal.

The Devils, who outshot the Leafs 17-8 in the third, made it 2-2 when Rafalski, from the left corner, sent a pass through the crease that Gomez tipped in from in front 1:34 in.

New Jersey blew numerous scoring opportunities.

Alexander Mogilny shot wide to the left on a breakaway 11 seconds before Valk tied the game at 1.

Joseph made a key stop with 4:46 left in regulation when he foiled Gomez on a breakaway and then recovered in time to block Ken Daneyko's blast from the point.

Notes: The Maple Leafs commemorated the 50th anniversary of defenseman Bill Barilko's Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal against Montreal in 1951. Barilko, who has been immortalized in The Tragically Hip song ''Fifty Mission Cap'' died in a plane crash that summer. Barilko's former teammates, his sister Anne Klisanich and the Tragically Hip were on hand for a pregame ceremony. ... Valk, out since hurting his right eye in practice on March 26, replaced RW Jonas Hoglund, who had no points in six playoff games. ... Devils C Sergei Brylin appeared to hurt his right ankle with 3:49 left in regulation. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return. ... Toronto lost for the first time in the playoffs -- dropping to 5-1 -- when leading after two periods.



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