DALLAS (AP) _ The Edmonton Oilers picked the perfect time for their first
regular-season win in Dallas in eight years.
Ryan Smyth broke a second-period tie with a power-play goal, and the Oilers
boosted their playoff chances with a 3-1 victory over the Stars on Wednesday
Edmonton, 0-15-1 in 16 previous trips to Dallas, improved to 89 points to
draw even with seventh-place St. Louis in the Western Conference.
``We've definitely had our fair share of losses here,'' Smyth said. ``We
knew we had to snap out of it at some point and there's no better time than
right now. This puts us back in the playoff hunt again.''
The Stars, whose franchise-record home unbeaten streak ended at 17 games
(13-0-4), fell to fifth in the West, two points behind Vancouver.
Dallas is trying to secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs by
finishing fourth. The Stars play Friday at Minnesota and Sunday at home against
``It does hurt our chances,'' Stars captain Mike Modano said. ``We have to
run the board these last two games. It certainly makes it more interesting.''
Radek Dvorak scored the tying goal in the second period, and Ty Conklin had
29 saves for the streaking Oilers, 11-1-2-4 in their last 18 games.
Marc-Andre Bergeron's goal from the right circle with 7:34 left made it 3-1.
``The guys stepped up and got some big goals for us,'' Edmonton defenseman
Jason Smith said. ``But the constant for us when we win is goaltending and we
got that tonight.''
Edmonton has one game left, Saturday at Vancouver.
The Oilers' playoff hopes took a hit Tuesday night when they lost at St.
Louis. That put more pressure on them to break the Dallas jinx.
``I wasn't happy with the way we played in St. Louis,'' Oilers coach Craig
MacTavish said. ``This is an important rebound by the club. We're right back in
it. We're one win away, in our minds, from getting in.''
Ron Tugnutt stopped 20 shots for the short-handed Stars.
Tugnutt, playing only his 10th game this season, continued to start while
Marty Turco served the third of a four-game league suspension. Turco was
punished for high-sticking Smyth at Edmonton on March 24.
Tugnutt has lost all three decisions during Turco's suspension, two in
The Stars were also without centers Jason Arnott (groin) and Stu Barnes
(upper body); right wings Rob DiMaio (foot), Scott Young (back) and Jere
Lehtinen (back); and defensemen Sergei Zubov (leg) and Jon Klemm (groin).
``Injuries are part of the game and everyone goes through it,'' Stars coach
Dave Tippett said. ``At the end of the day, you're looking for players to fill
those voids and we didn't get that.''
Dallas had the NHL's longest home unbeaten streak since Detroit's 19-game
run from Dec. 31, 2000, to April 7, 2001. The Stars' previous home loss was
Jan. 10 against Colorado.
Defenseman Teppo Numminen played almost 22 minutes for the Stars after
missing five games because of a heart problem. Numminen was cleared to play by
team doctors after a series of tests showed the dilated aorta that put his
career in jeopardy isn't considered life-threatening.
Dallas got the only goal of the first period at 16:36 when Pierre Turgeon
skated to the net and converted Shayne Corson's centering pass.
Edmonton tied it at 6:49 of the second period on Dvorak's 15th goal.
Smyth gave the Oilers a 2-1 advantage at 11:51 of the second period with his
23rd goal off Mike York's goal-mouth feed. Edmonton capitalized on a double
minor for high-sticking whistled against Brenden Morrow.