EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Dallas Stars were ready to play all night to keep their season alive. They very nearly did.
Mike Modano forced a sixth game in the Stanley Cup finals early this morning, deflecting in Brett Hull's shot 6:21 into the third overtime to give the Stars a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils and draw the defending champions within 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
''It's a good feeling,'' said Stars goalie Ed Belfour, who made 48 saves to tie an NHL record with his fourth shutout of the playoffs, the 11th postseason blanking of his career. ''We have a chance to go back home. We have another opportunity and we're looking forward to it.''
Hull scored a controversial goal from the crease in Game 6 against Buffalo last year, ending that triple-overtime game and giving Dallas its first Stanley Cup. This time his shot turned into Modano's first goal of the series.
The goal Hull got against the Sabres is one fans in Buffalo are still screaming shouldn't have counted.
''We tried to remember the overtime games we played last year during the playoffs,'' Belfour said. ''We used that as motivation and tried to keep it simple.''
When it finally ended 6:21 into the third overtime, it was the longest scoreless game in finals history and the fourth-longest game in the finals overall.
Belfour, routed in Game 1, wouldn't allow any pucks past him this time. His cold cured, Belfour rebounded from his six-goal shelling to stop all 48 New Jersey shots.
''Eddie played well, he's a very proud person,'' Dallas' Mike Keane said. ''The whole team's not going to give this thing up early. We know the Cup is in the building, and until they win, it's ours.''
Belfour won nine straight games following Dallas playoff defeats until New Jersey won consecutive contests at Reunion Arena to take a 3-1 series lead.
''It always seems we come up big when the time is needed,'' Modano said. ''Guys seem to rally, we seem to support each other. We don't get down.''
Modano, who played a Dallas-high 43 minutes, 33 seconds, and Hull have been the catalysts throughout the playoffs, accounting for 21 of the Stars' 51 goals.
The Stars have won two of the three games played at Continental Airlines Arena and return home for Game 6 Saturday night. New Jersey won Games 3 and 4 at Dallas and is 9-2 on the road.
''It's a big momentum change,'' Modano said. ''I think we all feel and finally realize what we have to do and how we have to play to beat these guys.''
Only once has a team rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to win the Cup. The Stars became just the 10th club to survive the fifth game.
As the game wore on, the Stars seemed to be the fresher team, getting more good chances and spending plenty of time in the New Jersey end.
''I think we felt some chances were coming and we were getting some good play down low,'' Modano said. ''We were able to wear them out a little bit.''
The goal came as Dallas worked the puck in the offensive zone. Hull sent a shot toward the net from the right point. Modano got his stick on it in midair and put it between the pads of Martin Brodeur.
''It was kind of towards the end of a shift,'' Modano said. ''It was just developing nicely. They were able to get it to Jere (Lehtinen) and Jere to Brett, and it seemed that everybody shifted to that end of the ice.
''His first attempt I think hit his shin or his stick, and he stuck with the play. As it came through the next time I was able to get my stick on it. It hit the shaft and went in.''
Dallas could get a boost for Game 6. Jamie Langenbrunner might be able to test his injured knee again, which would strengthen another Stars line.
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