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Stars put Ducks on brink of elimination @NHLdotcom

The Anaheim Ducks are reeling as they head home. And there's not much comfort in going back to Southern California.

Dallas already has won both games of its Western Conference playoff series at the defending Stanley Cup champions' home. After a 3-1 home-ice victory Thursday night, the Stars are close to a huge first-round win.

"Dallas is outplaying us," Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "We just haven't played at the level we need to be successful."

They don't have much time to find the cure, either - the teams meet Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.

First, it would help if the Ducks could beat Marty Turco. That didn't happen for all but the final 7.6 seconds of Game 4. By then, third-period goals from Stu Barnes and Steve Ott had secured Dallas' win.

"Tonight I felt really good," said Turco, who made 28 saves. "I had an opportunity to see all the shots that came my way. There were some anxious, scrambly moments in the second period. But the guys were doing all they could to help me."

Now the Ducks need some instant relief.

"We understand the situation," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We've got to give ourselves a chance."

Boston gave itself another chance, stopping Montreal from clinching an Eastern Conference series with a 5-1 away victory. The Canadiens still lead the series 3-2.

Philadelphia moved up 3-1 on Washington with a 4-3 double overtime decision. Colorado took a 3-2 lead in its series with Minnesota thanks to a 3-2 victory on the Wild's ice. San Jose beat Calgary 4-3 at the Shark Tank to go up 3-2 in that series.

Also Friday night, the New York Rangers visit New Jersey carrying a 3-1 lead, and Nashville is at Detroit, with that series tied 2-2.

Dallas had lost seven of its past eight home playoff games - the lone home win in that rut was a shutout by Turco. He almost did it again, until Mathieu Schneider slid the puck past him in the waning moments. It was Anaheim's first third-period goal of the series.

Turco's solid play protected an early goal by Joel Lundqvist. Midway through the third period, Barnes scored on a breakaway off a long, terrific feed from Mike Modano to give Turco more breathing room. Then Barnes stole a pass and set up Ott's goal, making it 3-0 with only 2:43 left.

At Montreal, Glen Metropolit scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period after Montreal goalie Carey Price made a reckless turnover. Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots for the Bruins.

Price gloved a puck at the side of his net and dropped it in front of him, but Petteri Nokelainen got his stick on it before Montreal's Maxim Lapierre and Metropolit batted the puck into an open net 3:31 into the third to put the Bruins up 2-1.

"When a team gets a break like that, they're going to come harder," Price said. "I won't think about it again after I leave this dressing room."

At Philadelphia, Danny Briere saved the game for the Flyers in regulation and Mike Knuble won it. Knuble poked in his second goal of the series 6:40 into the second OT.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to score in this town and hear the building go nuts," Knuble said. "You pinch yourself. You can't believe it's happening."

Jeff Carter scored twice for the Flyers, who can finish off the Caps in Game 5 on Saturday in Washington.

The Caps have dropped three straight in the series and it could be the end for them if leading scorer Alex Ovechkin can't start finding the back of the net. Ovechkin, who scored 65 goals this season, had two assists in Game 4.

At St. Paul, Minn., Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny pushed the Wild to the edge of elimination. Wojtek and Stastny scored 79 seconds apart early in the third period to give goalie Jose Theodore and the patient Avs the series lead, after weathering a relentless effort by the Wild.

Minnesota outshot Colorado 32-14 over the first two periods. But following an interference penalty by Sean Hill, with 5 seconds left on the power play, Wolski sent the puck through goalie Niklas Backstrom's pads for a 2-1 lead with 14:54 remaining.

Then came the knockout blow by Stastny, who took a smooth pass by Milan Hejduk and made a nifty pivot to lift a backhand over Backstrom.

At San Jose, Calif., Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo made sure San Jose wouldn't squander the momentum gained with a last-minute win in Calgary, moving the Sharks within one victory of a fourth straight trip to the second round of the playoffs.

Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and Cheechoo added two goals in the third. Joe Pavelski also scored and Evgeni Nabokov made 33 saves for the Sharks.

"Patty was doing everything: forechecking, backchecking, winning faceoffs," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said about Marleau. "He scored a great goal that gave us a chance to breathe a bit going into the third period. ... Patty's leading by example. You can't ask for anything more."

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