Kamensky's game-winner torpedoes Stars in West opener
Posted: Sunday May 23, 1999 01:33 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- They couldn't take this one away from Valeri Kamensky.
A period after having a possible goal waved off, Kamensky rebounded his own miss with 5:58 left to give Colorado a 2-1 victory over Dallas in the opening game of the Western Conference finals Saturday night.
The Avalanche improved to 7-0 on the road this postseason and won their fifth straight since being down 0-2 to Detroit in the second round. The Stars had won their first five playoff games in Reunion Arena.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Monday night in Dallas. The series moves to Denver for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday.
Colorado trailed 1-0 when Kamensky's deflection of a shot by Claude Lemieux went under Dallas goaltender Ed Belfour, hit the post and bounced out. After a review, officials said the puck didn't cross the goal line. But the Avalanche argued that it bounced off a pad inside the net.
"I saw the puck go straight through," Kamensky said. "I think it was a goal."
The rejection sparked the Avalanche and a few minutes later Peter Forsberg tied the game with his playoff-leading seventh goal. After Kamensky scored, goalie Patrick Roy made it hold up with superb play in the final minutes, stopping seven shots, many of them the toughest he'd faced all night.
For the Stars, it was a disappointing way to open their second straight appearance in the conference finals, especially after Brett Hull gave them a 1-0 lead early in the first period.
"We had turnovers, we missed the net on shots," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They don't need much of a gap to get it going offensively."
Roy had 30 saves and Belfour, statistically the best among the four remaining playoff goalies, stopped 26 shots. Both Colorado goals came on rebounds during scrambles in front.
The Avalanche's top line of Kamensky, Forsberg and Lemieux had all of their points. Kamensky and Lemieux assisted on Forsberg's goal and Forsberg assisted on Kamensky's.
Lemieux, booed often by the sellout crowd of 17,001 after he slammed his stick against the glass to quiet taunting fans, has assists in four straight games. He and Forsberg have points in five in a row.
Kamensky, who missed two months with a broken forearm before returning in Game 3 of the Red Wings series, scored his second playoff goal. He has six points in five postseason games - all of them Colorado victories.
"He's bringing us a new dimension to our offense and he generates a lot defensively with his speed and his skill," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "He's a good complement to Forsberg and Lemieux."
Kamensky's game-winner was set up by a hot shot from Forsberg that bounced off Belfour and came straight out. Kamensky skated right at the goal and tried again, but Belfour stopped his first attempt. Kamensky got his second try over Belfour.
Belfour said the shot richocheted off the stick of Dallas' Mike Modano.
"Mo was trying to knock it into the corner," Belfour said. "It was just a reaction play."
Kamensky's no-goal went between Belfour's legs, hit the post and came out. The Avalanche argued that it crossed the goal line and rebounded off a pad at the base of the net. The stuffing is supposed to be several inches back so close shots will stick in the net, but it extended almost all the way to the post.
Even after the play was reviewed and rejected, officials apparently still had questions because they checked again. They decided the video was inconclusive and Dallas remained ahead, 1-0.
"Right now, it's a non-issue for us," Hartley said. "I don't know if it's controversial or not. We'll never know."
After the period, two Reunion Arena crews worked on the nets while Colorado president-general manager Pierre Lacroix worked on the officials.
Lacroix confronted an official in a press box hallway, stopped to do a television interview, then chided the judge again. He was still fuming as he returned to his seat.
"You're going to have a hard time explaining that one," Lacroix said.
On the ice, workers made sure the padding was several inches from each side of the posts.
Hull's goal came when Roy left the crease to play the puck and Modano beat him to it. Modano then made a perfect centering pass to Hull at the tip of the crease with no Colorado defenders in the vicinity.
"There was a little bit of miscommunication in the corner, but they were applying so much pressure that those situations will happen," Hartley said. "You give an open net to Hull and he's not going to miss too often."
Hull's goal was his third of the postseason and the assist gave Modano a point in his last four games. The goal was the first allowed by Colorado in the opening period in four games.
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