DENVER -- Frustrated by outshooting the Dallas Stars 110-56 in the previous three games but having won only once, the Colorado Ava-lanche were desperate for a break.
Chris Drury provided it.
Attempting to redirect Ray Bourque's waist-high shot with his stick, Drury instead deflected the puck off his knee for the game-winner with 3:51 left in third period in Colorado's 2-1 victory Thursday night.
The Avalanche, staving off elimination, tied the best-of-seven Western Conference finals at 3-3, with a decisive Game 7 set for Saturday night in Dallas.
Ray Bourque assisted on Drury's goal and scored Colorado's other goal.
The Avalanche broke a 1-1 tie when Bourque took a long shot from along the left boards that sailed high toward the net. Drury, stationed in the slot, redirected it past goalie Ed Belfour.
''Ray made an unbelievable shot to get it through,'' Drury said. ''Initially I felt something. I think it might have hit my stick a little bit. It hit square on my knee and went right in.
''With all the shots we've been throwing at them, it's certainly nice to get one like that, off the knee. I'll definitely take it.''
Colorado coach Bob Hartley said his team ''finally got a lucky break. This could be the start of something.''
Patrick Roy had 26 saves, extending his NHL record for career playoff victories to 121. Belfour made 19 saves.
Bourque's goal early in the second period put the Avalanche ahead, but Brett Hull tied it with a power-play goal later in the period. It was Hull's ninth goal of the playoffs and fourth goal in the last three games.
Dallas defeated Colorado in last year's conference finals, rallying from a 3-2 deficit en route to capturing its first Stanley Cup.
''I like our position,'' Hartley said. ''With tonight's win, we generate some momentum.''
Stars coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't so sure.
''I don't know if one team has the momentum, because our team is not down at all,'' Hitchcock said. ''We're playing our way -- gritty, grindy, in-your-face hockey.
''We had them bogged down for most of the third period. We made one mistake, and it was in our net. It got tipped off some guy's knee or something.''
Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher said the Stars ''wanted it to end tonight, but we aren't disheartened. It was just one of those goals. If we give the same effort Saturday, we will be all right. Now we have one game on our ice.''
Colorado outshot Dallas 9-6 in a scoreless first period that saw the Avalanche continue to flounder on the power play, failing to capitalize on two man-advantage situations.
Each team lost a defenseman in the period. Dallas' Richard Matvichuk, elbowed in the head by Dave Andreychuk, went down on the ice behind the Dallas net, apparently losing consciousness momentarily. Later, Colorado's Aaron Miller was high-sticked by Scott Thornton and collapsed in pain. Both players had to be assisted from the ice, but no penalties were called.
Matvichuk, who suffered a mild concussion, did not return, but Miller was back for the second period.
''It had a pretty big effect,'' Hitchcock said of Matvichuk's loss. ''Matty plays the second-most minutes on the team.''
Bourque, seeking his first Stanley Cup title in his 21st NHL season, scored his first goal of the playoffs early in the second period. Joe Sakic intercepted a pass and, after putting a spin move on Sylvain Cote, fed Bourque in the slot. Bourque's shot went high on Belfour's glove side at 4:30.
''Joe made a great play, blocking the shot and tracking it down,'' Bourque said. ''I was alone with Belfour and just caught the top left corner of the net.
''I think we still have our best game in us. I'm expecting us to play it in Game 7. This is why I came here (in a trade from Boston on March 6), to be in this situation.''
Penalties against Drury and Adam Foote gave Dallas a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:14 later in the period, and the Stars capitalized on Hull's goal at 12:37. Sergei Zubov passed from the right boards to Hull, situated just inside the left circle.
Dallas' Mike Modano had to be assisted from the ice after being stunned by Foote's hit that drew a high-sticking penalty, but he returned late in the period.
Belfour had a key save off Milan Hejduk in the third period, and Roy stopped the dangerous Hull.
Sakic, his frustration continuing, missed an empty net in the waning seconds. Sakic has scored only one goal in the last 13 games.
Colorado is in a 1-for-23 slump on the power play and is only 3-for-30 in the series.
The Stars were without forward Jamie Langenbrunner, sidelined by a sprained knee sustained in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
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