With a two-goal lead and less than a minute left in regulation, the Dallas Stars seemed all but certain of victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
But Steve Rucchin and Teemu Selanne
"They thought the game was over but we didn't stop believing we could get a point out of it," said Selanne. "Dallas is a good team, but we were challenging them, winning the battles."
Dallas had built a seemingly safe 3-1 advantage with 1:40 to play on Jere Lehtinen's wrist shot from the right circle.
But the Mighty Ducks, with an extra attacker for goaltender Guy Hebert, narrowed the deficit to 3-2 on Rucchin's second goal of the season at 19:22.
Selanne sent the game into overtime by scoring his fifth with 11.2 seconds left from in front of the net, sweeping Paul Kariya's pass out of the corner past Stars goalie Roman Turek.
"I was set up at the back post just hoping someone would get the puck to me," Selanne said. "Paul made a great pass and it was easy. Paul has such great vision. He knows where I am out there."
After losing their first three games, the Mighty Ducks are unbeaten in their last five (4-0-1).
"This was a huge point," Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg said. "It's not going to happen in Dallas too many times. We were in awe of them in the first period, but not in the second. We regrouped."
Dallas' Joe Nieuwendyk continued his strong start after six months o rehabilitation from double-knee surgery with two goals, including the 400th of his career.
Nieuwendyk became the 51st player in NHL history with at least 400 goals when he scored his third in the second game he's played this season. He had a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup, a 2-1 decision over the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 24.
Kariya, who assisted on both of Anaheim's last-minute goals, scored his fifth early in the third period to narrow Dallas' advantage to 2-1.
The Stars have yet to lose at home with a 5-0-1 record, but coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't pleased to let an almost sure win slip through his fingers.
"We played 20 minutes of great hockey, but then we got caught," Hitchcock said. "We were too comfortable."
Said Stars right wing Grant Marshall: "We blew it. We played like the game was over. We came out strong in the first period, but we were soft in the last 40 minutes. We need to take this as a learning experience."
Nieuwendyk gave the Stars a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period when he one-timed Richard Matvichuk's pass from the lower right circle. The Dallas center made it 2-0 at 14:28, scoring from the slot off a feed from Pat Verbeek while the Stars were on their second power play of the night.
Nieuwendyk notched his first career goal for the Calgary Flames on March 10, 1987.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved