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GAME: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Avalanche lead 2-1.
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Scott Young's goal abruptly changed the momentum of Game 3 between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche - and may have done the same for the entire first-round playoff series.
Following a critical overtime victory at home that cut the Avalanche's lead to 2-1, the Stars look to pull even when they host Colorado in Game 4.
Dallas was dominated in the opening two contests, getting outscored 8-3, and looked to be headed for an 0-3 hole in the series when it fell behind 3-1 midway through the second period Monday. But Young scored a power-play goal with two seconds remaining in the period, throwing a desperation shot from a tough angle toward the Avalanche net and watching it slide past goaltender David Aebischer.
The spark carried over to the final 20 minutes. Philippe Boucher got the tying goal with 4:27 left in regulation and Steve Ott won it with a breakaway goal off a neutral-zone steal 2:11 into overtime, giving Dallas a 4-3 victory.
The spirited comeback revived the Stars' chances in the series, and at least temporarily, gave Dallas the momentum.
"It's a great feeling, but it's only one game," said Young, whose team outshot Colorado 10-3 in the final period. "We couldn't afford to lose this game."
Dallas' desperate effort was finally enough to get a win against Aebischer, who was outstanding in the two Avalanche victories and held the one-goal lead for most of the third period Monday.
Still, without Young's goal, the Stars might not have had the energy in the final period to get back into the series.
"That goal was frustrating, it gave them life," Colorado center Chris Gratton said. "It got the fans back into it. The building was jumping and it gave them the momentum right back."
Now, it's Colorado's turn to try and bounce back from a rough evening. Most important for the Avs is the state of mind of Aebischer, who finished with 28 saves. How Patrick Roy's replacement responds to allowing the two late goals to suffer his first career playoff loss could be a key to the rest of the series.
"David is very hard on himself," Colorado coach Tony Granato said. "Every time he lets in a goal, he feels he should have saved it. He's very critical of himself. But from Day 1, he's been solid for us."
Milan Hejduk, Riku Hahl and Steve Konowalchuk scored three straight goals for Colorado after Jason Arnott gave Dallas the lead at 8:01 of the first. Konowalchuk's power-play goal came at 11:02 of the second and gave Colorado a 3-1 lead.
Boucher tied the game by putting the puck on net with Young clogging the front, allowing the puck to get past Aebischer's stick. In overtime, Ott blocked a neutral-zone pass from Avs defenseman Adam Foote and took off the other way for the winning goal.
Ott sent the puck through a narrow gap between Aebischer and the post, restoring Dallas' hopes of winning the series and continuing its remarkable home-ice advantage. The Stars have lost only one of their last 20 games at the American Airlines Center.
"All the emotion and happiness is awesome," Ott said.
The Avalanche went through the opposite emotions, something they never came close to feeling the first two games.
"You're going to go through tough times throughout the playoffs," said Avs center Peter Forsberg, who upped his postseason point streak to a career-best nine games. "But we still have to keep in mind that we're up 2-1."
The Stars' excitement may be short-lived if they don't start slowing down the Avs in the first period. Colorado has scored twice in the first period of all three games, a major letdown for a Dallas defense that gave up a league-low 38 first-period goals in the regular season. The Stars allowed two first-period goals in just five of 82 games.
The teams will get two days off following Wednesday's contest before the scene shifts back to Denver for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Stars - 97 points, 5th seed. Avalanche - 100 points, 4th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Forsberg, Tanguay and Joe Sakic, 2 goals; Rob Blake, 4 assists; four with 4 points; Matthew Barnaby, 6 PIM. Stars - seven with 1 goal; Valeri Bure and Pierre Turgeon, 2 assists; four with 2 points; Shayne Corson, 12 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 26.7 percent (4 for 15). Penalty killing: 81.3 percent (13 for 16). Stars - Power play: 18.8 percent (3 for 16). Penalty killing: 73.3 percent (11 for 15).
GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Aebischer (2-1, 2.31 GAA); Tommy Salo (no appearances). Stars - Marty Turco (1-2, 3.65); Ron Tugnutt (no appearances).