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Sunday, 04.30.2006 / 11:00 AM

Associated Press

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars

GAME: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Avalanche lead 3-1.

TIME: Sunday, 2 p.m. EDT.

The Dallas Stars staved off elimination for at least one game, but it'll take another strong performance to keep their first-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche going.

The Stars host the Avalanche in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series, looking to continue their comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

Colorado stormed past Dallas in the first three games, leaving the second-seeded Stars on the brink of elimination before an inspired performance in Game 4 produced a 4-1 victory in Colorado.

"They've got us on the ropes still," Dallas forward Bill Guerin said. "We've got to keep playing for our lives."

The Stars outshot the Avalanche 19-6 and scored two goals in the second period to break open a 1-1 game.

Goalie Marty Turco made a bold move during the period to come out of the net and play the puck on a breakaway attempt by Colorado's Alex Tanguay. He collided with Tanguay in the process, a play that fired up the Stars.

"He could have sat back there and played it safe and waited and got ready for the puck. It's a play that needed to be made and he made it," Stars center Stu Barnes said. "That's a big lift for everybody."

Niklas Hagman had two goals for Dallas, which outshot Colorado 39-23.

"Desperate teams play with the demons," Avs defenseman Patrice Brisebois said. "They played like they had demons. They were relentless, pressuring us in our zone. We'd been able to handle their pressure in the first three games. This time we had breakdowns, bad passes in our zone and in the neutral zone. They jumped on our mistakes and capitalized on them."

It was only the second win in nine games for Turco against the Avalanche, and it allowed Dallas to remain in the series for at least another game. Only two teams in NHL history have come back from 3-0 deficits, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders.

For one game at least, the magic ran out for seventh-seeded Colorado. In the previous two contests, the Avalanche scored goals in overtime to get closer to pulling the first-round upset.

"I thought we were desperate, maybe they were a little more desperate than us," Colorado right wing Ian Laperriere said. "In Game 5 we're going to have to match that. They're going to be pumped up in front of their fans. And we're just going to have to raise our level to beat a great team like that."

Joe Sakic failed to score a point for the first time in the series and the Avalanche were held without a power-play goal after scoring five through the first three games.

"You saw how a desperate team can play," Sakic said. "They were all over us on the ice. That is a pretty good team over there. As a player you don't want the season to end. You want to keep playing."

Colorado beat Dallas 4-1 in the first round in 2004, the same margin it can win this series by if it takes Game 5.

If necessary, Game 6 will be Tuesday in Colorado.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Avalanche - 95 points; 7th seed. Stars - 112 points; 2nd seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Six with 2 goals; Milan Hejduk, 4 assists and 6 points; Tanguay, 8 PIM. Stars - Jere Lehtinen, 3 goals; Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov, 4 assists and 5 points; Niko Kapanen, 8 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 20.0 percent (5 for 25). Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (20 for 24). Stars - Power play: 16.7 percent (4 for 24). Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (20 for 25).

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Jose Theodore (3-1, 2.95 GAA); Peter Budaj (no appearances). Stars - Turco (1-3, 3.67); Johan Hedberg (no appearances).

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 30 '06COL 3 at DAL 2 - OTA. Brunette
Apr 28 '06DAL 4 at COL 1N. Hagman
Apr 26 '06DAL 3 at COL 4 - OTA. Tanguay
Apr 24 '06COL 5 at DAL 4 - OTJ. Sakic
Apr 22 '06COL 5 at DAL 2R. Blake
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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