Grumpy Old Men star for Dallas in OT
The Dallas Stars' Grumpy Old Men line proved that age is only a number come playoff time.
After scoring the game-tying goal, John Maclean set up Kirk Muller's overtime winner as the Dallas Stars upended the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 at Reunion Arena on Thursday.
The win gives the Stars a 3-2 stranglehold in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal, with Game 6 slated for Edmonton (CBC 7:00 PM ET).
Just over eight minutes into the extra period, MacLean chased down his own dump-in behind the net and flicked a backhand pass in front.
The puck hit Edmonton's Doug Weight and Jason Smith before Muller wristed it past Salo for his first goal in 30 games.
The goal gives the 35-year-old native of Kingston Ont four career playoff OT winners -- two fewer than NHL record-holder Maurice Richard.
"We just compliment each other. We're just trying to do our job," Muller said of his Grumpy Old linemates, Maclean and Mike Keane.
Job one for this band of thirtysomethings is defence, but of late they've been showing their offensive prowess, contributing key goals.
Muller, Maclean and Keane, who have 104 years and five Stanley Cup rings between them, have combined for 10 points this post-season.
"We got a little bit left," said Muller.
Keane scored the goal that sent Game 4 to overtime in Edmonton.
Maclean's goal with 4:22 left in regulation, ensured the two squards would play OT for third straight game and fourth time this series
"This is their time of year to compete. This is when they shine. They love it," said Stars' coach Ken Hitchcock.
After getting physically dominated in Game 5, the veteran Stars came out strong in the first, outmuscling, outworking and outshooting the young Oilers from the opening puck drop.
The hard work paid dividends at 6:02 of the first when Jere Lehtinen chipped a picture perfect give-and-go pass from Grant Ledyard over a sprawled Tommy Salo.
Jamie Langenbrunner, who was in the penalty box when Mike Comrie scored the OT winner in Game 4, tallied at 1:12 of the second to extend Dallas' lead.
The damage could've been worse if not for some spectacular netminding by Salo.
The Oiler goaltender turned aside 15 shots through the first two periods -- and 34 total -- but falls to 1-7 in eight post-season appearances at Reunion Arena.
Salo's play must have inspired his teammates.
"We weren't battling hard. We were going through the motions and I don't know why," said Anson Carter.
"When we turned up the effort in the third period, we were a totally different club."
Trailing 2-0, Carter, Weight and Eric Brewer scored over a 2:57 minute span in the third period to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead before Maclean scored to tie it.
"It's the same story," Muller told Hockey Night and Canada's Scott Russell. "(Edmonton) battled back."
"Fortunately everyone kept their composure and we got a good break," he expained.
"It's a tough series."
In fact, 19 of the last 25 playoff meetings between the two squads have been decided by one goal.
Stars' goalie Ed Belfour made 15 saves and improves to 18-5 this season in starts following a loss.