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Stars close season with victory

Stars close season with victory

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DALLAS - The Dallas Stars want to carry the momentum from a 12-2-2 season-ending run into the playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Modano scored with 3:49 left and the Stars tuned up for the postseason with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. It was his 507th career goal, extending his record for U.S.-born players.

Dallas finished with 50 wins and 107 points to wrap up the sixth seed in the Western Conference, capping the regular season with a three-goal third-period flurry against Chicago.

"Just the win itself and getting to the 50-win plateau, those are things that give you that momentum and that belief system you need going into the playoffs," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.

The Stars had little to play for against the Blackhawks since Dallas' playoff seeding already had been determined. Dallas and San Jose finished with the same point total, but the Sharks won the tiebreaker with one more victory to earn the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Dallas takes on the No. 3 seed, the Northwest Division champion Canucks, with Game 1 in Vancouver.

"This was not the easiest game to get up for," Dallas' Philippe Boucher said. "We need to play strong third periods in the playoffs and we've been getting them."

With the score 2-2 and the teams 4-on-4, Modano skated to the net along the right side and beat Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin after a centering pass from Boucher for Modano's 22nd goal of the season.

Chicago, which missed the playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine seasons, finished with 71 points, tied with Edmonton for second fewest in the conference.

The Blackhawks failed to convert on three power-play opportunities. Their last one came with five minutes left, but they lost the one-man advantage 54 seconds into the power play when Duncan Keith was penalized for hooking.

We played well for 55 minutes and then we shot ourselves in the foot," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "But that sums up our year."

Bryan Bickell gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead at 12:27 of the third period with a one-timer from the high slot for Bickell's second goal of the season. But Sergei Zubov got the tying goal for Dallas at 13:36 of the third, notching his 12th of the season on a shot from the point.

Brenden Morrow broke up a scoreless game with his 16th goal at 5:56 of the third period while the Stars were on a power play. Jason Willliams' deflection for his 15th goal came a minute later and made it 1-1.

Dallas and Vancouver split their four regular-season meetings, all ending in 2-1 scores. Much will depend on the goaltenders - Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Dallas' Marty Turco.


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