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Modano breaks points record for U.S.-born players in Stars' win

by Brian Compton
Mike Modano is congratulated by teammate Philippe Boucher after his second goal against the Sharks. With the goal, Modano becames the NHL's all-time American-born leading scorer.
Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars broke the record for points by a U.S.-born player when he scored twice in the first 4:24 of Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion.

(LISTEN: Modano breaks record with goal)

After being held without a point for three consecutive games, Modano tied Housley’s record of 1,232 points just 2:19 into the contest with his third goal of the season. That gave the 37-year-old 1,232 career points, tying the mark set by Phil Housley from 1982-2003.

But the Stars’ veteran was far from done. Just over two minutes later, No. 9 beat Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov on a breakaway – shorthanded, no less -- to become America’s new all-time leading scorer. It is his first two-goal game since Mar. 17 of this year, when he accomplished the feat against the Nashville Predators. It was his only two-goal game last season.

Modano began the season six points behind Housley’s mark but had struggled in the early going. The assist was only his sixth point in Dallas’ 13 games this season. He had only two points in the Stars’ first nine games before getting a goal and an assist on Oct. 27 at Phoenix and adding an assist at home two nights later against San Jose.

“I think the stretch at home was building,” Modano said. “I think the fans were kind of anticipating something to happen at home. I had a lot of friends and family at the games. It was something that weighed on your mind. Every night, I went out there and tried to do something, but it wasn’t meant to be. But it’s a great relief and a lot of weight off the shoulders.”

After both of his goals, Modano received a tremendous ovation from the Sharks’ faithful – a moment that surely he won’t soon forget.

“A lot of history here,” Modano said. “I’ve always enjoyed playing in San Jose, even back when they were in San Francisco. I’ve enjoyed it here. They’ve been a classy organization. It’s a classy act on their part.”

Jeremy Roenick could have added to the festivities by becoming the third U.S.-born player to score 500 career goals, but the Boston native was held off the scoresheet. Nonetheless, he was happy to witness the history made by his fellow countryman.

''It was really special to watch, especially the way he did it (with) two beautiful, beautiful goals,'' Roenick said. ''I wish we could have done it on the same night. I was just really proud to be here when he did it.''

Modano, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 Entry Draft, has played his entire career with the Stars franchise, beginning with the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. The native of Livonia, Mich., has 511 goals and 722 assists in 1,253 games.

''The accomplishment is phenomenal,'' Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. ''What he's meant to hockey in the United States, it goes without saying. He does it with such class. It's great to see him finally get it.''

Modano originally was awarded an assist last Wednesday on Sergei Zubov's power-play goal that gave Dallas a 4-3 lead with 9:53 left against Chicago, though it appeared Modano had not touched the puck. The assist was taken away by official scorers after the game, and Modano agreed with the decision.

"Someone screwed up. I wasn't even near that," Modano said. "It's unfortunate, another list of things that have happened lately that have been surrounded by me. It kind of caps up the whole month, so I'm glad it's over.”

He was held scoreless in Friday’s 5-0 home loss to Phoenix. As for Wednesday, Matt Carle got San Jose on the board with his first goal of the season on the power play late in the first period to make it 2-1. San Jose nearly tied the game in the second on a goal by Sandis Ozolinsh, but the tally was waved off after it was ruled that San Jose’s Milan Michalek bumped into Stars goalie Marty Turco, who made 38 saves to make Modano’s night even more special. Dallas was outshot by the Sharks by a 39-12 margin. Steve Ott rounded out the scoring with his first goal of the season 2:12 into the second period.

''I think maybe it was only fitting that he did it all alone on a breakaway with the spotlight on him,'' Turco said. ''When you talk about it, there's just one guy that stands out in American hockey.''

Modano has had nine 30-goal seasons, with a high of 50 in 1993-94. His single-season high in points was 93, set in 1992-93 and matched the next season. He had 22 goals and 43 points in 59 games last season, missing 23 games with hip and groin injuries.

“I can finally take a deep breath and enjoy it a little bit,” Modano said. “This is the last of the numbers situation, as far as records go. It was the last one of the bunch, and it was something I was looking forward to at the start of the year to accomplish and get it over with. But it definitely means the most. You’re thankful you’ve been in the game this long.”

Housley, who spent most of his 21-season career as a defenseman, finished with 338 goals and 894 points. His best season came with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93, when he had 18 goals and 79 assists for 97 points.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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