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Dallas Has Oilers Seeing Stars

Dallas was without two of its top four scorers on Wednesday night, but the two they still had helped the Stars to a season best in goals.

Joe Nieuwendyk had two goals and an assist and Mike Modano scored twice as the Stars continued their home dominance of the Edmonton Oilers with a 7-4 victory.

Brett Hull and Darryl Sydor, Dallas' No. 2 and No. 4 scorers, were out with injuries, so the Stars turned to other sources.

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  • Nieuwendyk, Guy Carbonneau and Grant Marshall scored first-period goals over a span of 3:08 to get the Stars off to a fast start. Dallas then scored goals on its first four shots of the second period against Edmonton backup goalie Mikhail Shtalenkov, giving the Stars seven in their first 11 shots.

    "We've always prided ourselves on being interchangeable parts," said Modano, who had both his goals in the second period, one shorthanded, as he moved past Hull to become the team goal leader with 28. "The more the merrier. We've got other guys who can score."

    Pat Verbeek, with his 16th, and Nieuwendyk, his 18th, also scored in the second period for the Stars, who improved their regular-season record over the Oilers to 21-3-2 at Reunion Arena since the team moved to Dallas prior to the 1993-94 season.

    "We had some good goals early, and then some lucky ones later," Nieuwendyk said. "We buried our chances and that was the difference."

    Dallas is 11-1-2 over it last 14 games and has 92 points, most in the league. With 19 games remaining, the Stars are pointing to the playoffs, which will start with Dallas as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

    "There are a lot of teams we'll be playing that will be on the bubble for the playoffs," Modano said. "Right now we just want to fine-tune and be sharp and ready."

    Stars coach Ken Hitchcock praised his team for its diverse scoring, saying, "To get seven goals without Hull and Sydor is a feather in our cap. Tonight our power play looked really strong."

    Georges Laraque, with his third, and Todd Marchant, his 10th, notched second-period goals for the Oilers, and Mats Lindgren scored twice in the third period, the latter his fourth of the season at 2:03 of the third period.

    The Stars amassed a 3-0 lead in the opening 12:23, scoring on three of their first six shots to drive Oilers goalie Bob Essensa to the bench.

    Nieuwendyk got the scoring burst started at 9:15 while Dallas was on a two-man power play, converting a goal-mouth pass from Verbeek for Nieuwendyk's 17th.

    Dallas needed only 1:12 to make it 2-0 on Carbonneau's third goal of the season. Marshall added his 11th at 12:23 on a blast from the right circle to extend the Stars' advantage to 3-0, and Edmonton coach Ron Low sent in Shtalenkov to replace Essensa.

    Of his goaltending, Low said, "We struggled, that's for sure. It was a Murphy's Law kind of game. But I'll give our guys credit, we battled to the end."

    The Oilers lost left wing Ryan Smyth for the night in the second period when he was struck in the face with a slap shot by teammate Boris Mironov. Smyth needed multiple stitches to close lacerations on his jaw and inside his mouth, and also lost three teeth. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

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