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game recap

Stars survive rally to win Game 6, eliminate Wild

Minnesota gets four third-period goals but can't catch Dallas

by Dan Myers / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For 40 minutes, the Dallas Stars appeared poised to coast into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an easy Game 6 win against the Minnesota Wild.

Then the third period happened.

Dallas scored three goals in the first period but had to survive a four-goal third period by Minnesota and a last-minute video review on what could have been the tying goal to earn a series-clinching 5-4 win in the Western Conference First Round at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Sharp beats Dubnyk for a 3-0 lead

Dallas won the best-of-7 series 4-2. The Stars will play the winner of the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks series in the second round. The Blues and Blackhawks play Game 7 in St. Louis on Monday.

The Wild trailed 4-0 after two periods but got within one goal and pulled Dubnyk for an extra attacker with 1:45 left. Minnesota nearly tied it off a scramble with 33 seconds remaining, but a video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck had not completely crossed the goal line.

The Stars iced the puck twice after the no-goal call, but the Wild never threatened again.

A goal by Jamie Benn with 23.7 seconds left in the second period gave the Stars a 4-0 lead; for the second time in as many intermissions, the Wild were booed off the ice by their own fans.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Ja. Benn roofs it at the end of the 2nd

"That first 45 minutes, this building was dead," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "There was nothing going on. We were above them, we made them come through us, we maybe gave them a handful of chances.

"That last 15 was interesting."

Minnesota, which used Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" as its goal song in honor of the singer, who passed away on Thursday, nearly wore out the soundtrack in the third period.

Jared Spurgeon scored a power-play goal at 3:48, and Jonas Brodin followed 16 seconds later to start the comeback. Spurgeon scored again on the power play at 8:39 to get the Wild within 4-3 with plenty of time remaining.

The first two goals were the fastest in Wild postseason history.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Spurgeon jams home PPG

"We talked about momentum so much in the playoffs," Stars forward Patrick Sharp said. "[Ahead] 4-0 [with] 20 minutes left, a power-play goal and then the building gets into it, they get excited and we've got a tough time stopping it, but we did. We won the game and we're happy about it. Lot of respect for what Minnesota can do on their side. It was a tough series, but we're excited we're moving on."

The Wild nearly tied it moments later when Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen turned the puck over to Jason Zucker at the top of the crease, only to see it roll off Zucker's stick with the net open.

Instead, the Stars, as they'd done all series, took advantage of a fortuitous bounce of their own when defenseman Alex Goligoski's point shot hit traffic in front and popped in the air, landing in the feet of Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who lost sight of the puck. Forward Charlie Coyle dove to try and keep it out, but Dubnyk swept the pick into his own net with the back of his right leg at 10:28, giving Dallas a 5-3 lead.

Even that stroke of bad luck didn't deter Minnesota's comeback attempt.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Pominville cuts the deficit back to one

Jason Pominville finished off a rebound near the left post of a shot from the point by Brodin to get Minnesota back within a goal with 4:47 remaining.

At that point, the Xcel Energy Center crowd needed no prodding from the goal song.

"When you're in the middle of it, you're not even thinking about [how crazy it is], you're just trying to get that next one and just build off the crowd," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "It's just too bad we couldn't get that last one."

Jason Spezza scored a goal and had three assists, and Benn finished with a goal and two assists for the Stars, who got 25 saves from Lehtonen. Sharp and John Klingberg also scored for Dallas.

"For 45 minutes we played just a model game," Ruff said. "I wasn't a big fan of the [penalty] call against [Antoine] Roussel [that led to Spurgeon's goal] in a game like that, but that gave them a little life. We made a mistake on their second one, and then it was game on."

Goligoski's wacky goal midway through the third period turned out to be the game-winner.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm6: Goligoski puts away bouncing puck

"It seemed like at least one every game," Dubnyk said. "I guess that's why you throw pucks to the net. But that was a tough time to get a bounce like that. The way the guys worked in the third period, I'm just proud to be back there and a part of that. Right to the end, we still managed to get within one and almost score there. That makes you feel sick to have to lose a game and a series on a bouncer like that."

Dallas took advantage of an early 5-on-3 power play when Spezza feathered a point-to-point pass to Klingberg for a one-timer from the top of the left circle that beat Dubnyk at 5:56 of the first period. Spezza made it 2-0 at 9:07 when he finished off a rebound of a Mattias Janmark shot.

"I'd rather be lucky than good, because that happens a lot," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "They're a great shot-attempt team, and they're committed to that. That's something moving forward for our team, we need way more commitment to that, and that net-front presence we've been talking about for however long I've been here. That's the difference."

Sharp capped a 2-on-1 break with Benn at 18:11 by beating Dubnyk with a snap shot to the blocker side just inside the left post for his third goal of the series. Benn scored his fourth of the playoffs late in the second before the third-period fireworks.

Benn scored at least one point in all six games of the series and is one game shy of tying a franchise record for most consecutive games with at least a point to start a postseason; Dino Ciccarelli scored in the first seven games in 1983, when the franchise was known as the Minnesota North Stars.

Video: Stars hang on to win Game 6, 5-4, clinch series

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