With the game on the line, Mike Modano's plan worked to perfection.
Modano scored two goals, including the winner 44 seconds into overtime, as the Dallas Stars ended a four-game winless skid with a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.
Modano, who also scored a shorthanded goal in the third period, took a cross-ice pass from Sergei Zubov at the bottom of the left circle and wristed the puck over Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe for his 32nd goal of the season.
Two years ago, Irbe was Dallas' backup and Modano was used to working against the 5-foot-7 goaltender.
"We know Archie's tendencies," Modano said. "He's short and he backs into the net. I got a great pass, waited a second and picked a spot."
Sami Kapanen and Glen Wesley scored in a 38-second span late in the third period to rally the Hurricanes from a two-goal deficit and send the game into overtime.
Kapanen got his 22nd goal of the season off a two-on-one break with 3:29 to play, ending Dallas goalie Ed Belfour's bid for his 46th career shutout. Wesley then scored on a screened shot with 2:51 left.
"That's what makes it so disappointing," said Carolina coach Paul Maurice. "If we'd played poorly and didn't deserve to be there, that's one thing. But when you play as hard as you can and lose like that, it's very frustrating."
Dallas was 0-2-2 in its previous four games, and Modano admitted that it's been difficult for the Stars to focus. Dallas improved to a league-best 98 points and is looking toward the playoffs.
"It's always in the back of our minds," Modano said. "It's tough not to. Everybody gets caught looking ahead to April, getting ready for the hard push that's going to come."
The Hurricanes continue to struggle on the road, where they're winless in their last seven games (0-5-2).
Carolina held a 9-1 shots-on-goal advantage in a scoreless firsperiod.
"It wasn't pretty for us early," said Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk. "Then it was disappointing to give away the two-goal lead. But Mo scored a big goal for us."
Dallas grabbed a 1-0 lead at 6:09 of the second period on Nieuwendyk's 21st goal, a blast from the left circle that got past Irbe.
Modano added a shorthanded goal with 12:19 to play, cashing in on a breakaway to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Hurricanes defenseman Sean Hill injured his ankle in the second period and didn't return.
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