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Modano's milestone leads Stars

by Brian Hunter / NHL.com
No American-born player has scored more NHL points than Mike Modano. Now, the veteran can count himself as one of 31 players in League history to reach 1,300 in his glorious career.

Modano reached the milestone by scoring his 10th goal of the season on the power play with 2:21 remaining to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 victory Sunday at American Airlines Center. He had assisted on a Mike Ribeiro score in the first period to climb within one of the mark.

"I've been lucky to be around for a long time and a bit old, but I've been fortunate to be in the game for a long time and I'm very blessed about it," said Modano, who first broke in with the Minnesota North Stars during the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs. "Teammates and coaches along the way had their hands in there. It's something I thought about and wanted to get it over with."

Modano's current coach, Dave Tippett, had one of the best views of the goal from behind the Dallas bench.

"That was a great shot there, especially on a milestone goal that was so meaningful for our group," Tippett said. "You don't get 1,300 points without being a great player, and that was a great goal."
   
The goal was Modano's 537th and came just 1:01 after Kyle Brodziak scored his second of the game for Edmonton to tie the score. Overtime loomed, but after Sheldon Souray was penalized for hooking with 2:49 left, the Dallas power play went to work.

Brad Richards set up behind the goal line, and when none of the Edmonton defenders challenged him he was able to thread a pass out to Modano in the left circle for a quick shot that went over the glove of Oilers goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, bringing the crowd to its feet.

"It was perfect," Modano said of Richards' feed. "It was right there where you wanted it and you're able to get it off and you don't have to stop it and shoot it. No one pressured him in the corner, so I was trying to find a little lane and he made a great pass."

Dallas also received goals from Toby Petersen and Sean Avery, the latter of whom put the Stars ahead 3-2 with 5:09 to play. They improved to 23-4-2 at home against the Oilers since moving from Minnesota prior to the 1993-94 season.

Ales Hemsky had the other tally for Edmonton, which had won in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon but dropped to 2-5-1 over its last eight games.

"It was missed execution on a pretty elementary part of our penalty kill," MacTavish said of Modano's goal. "The game was there for us. It was ripe for opportunity. We squandered a pretty good second and third (periods) with boneheaded mistakes."

Ribeiro and Petersen struck to give the Stars a 2-0 lead after one period. Modano set up the first goal on the power play by taking a shot Drouin-Deslauriers stopped only to have the puck pop in the air and roll down the goalie's right arm and into the crease. Ribeiro nudged it over the goal line for his third of the season.

"It was a bad bounce," said Drouin-Deslauriers, who hadn't played since Nov. 13. "I batted the puck in the air. I needed to back up in my net. It was bad bounce off my pads. When you're lucky, that hits the top of the net."

Petersen, who hadn't scored since Mar. 27, 2007, when he was a member of the Oilers, tipped in a Matt Niskanen shot with 5:59 remaining -- maybe not a classic goal, but one he was certainly glad to get.

"It's a big weight off the shoulders, that's for sure," Petersen said. "Just going to the net and having a lucky bounce, that's all it was. Nisky made a great shot from the point and it went in."

Hemsky scored the lone goal of the second, drawing the Oilers to within one on a power play with 7:49 remaining. Brodziak netted the first of his game-tying goals 4:21 into the third.

It appeared Avery might have earned the Stars two points when he converted James Neal's centering pass for his third goal, but Brodziak quickly answered by scoring off the rebound of a Souray shot with Dallas goalie Marty Turco down on the ice.

 
 
Although their 20 points are still fewest in the Western Conference, there's a logjam of teams directly ahead of the Stars and they sit only four points out of a playoff spot with almost three-quarters of the season still to be played.

"We needed it bad," Petersen said of the win. "We needed a win here where we had to grind it out. They kept coming back and we showed perseverance and showed some resiliency out there. That's what we need, we need to show that we can hang with these teams -- even when they push, we bend but we don't break."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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