Antti Miettinen completes comeback as Stars rally to beat Avalanche 5-4

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Still, the Stars would never have been in position for their impressive 5-4 comeback victory over the Colorado Avalanche without their captain. Before leaving Monday night's game with a groin injury, Morrow scored twice in the final three minutes of the first period to rally the Stars from a horrendous start. Colorado chased goaltender Marty Turco after only five shots but Morrow helped Dallas forge a 2-2 tie.

"We took a few minutes to get our feet under us ... then Brenden had two big goals," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "We made some mistakes early, but led by Brenden, we got ourselves back in it."

The Stars got the winning margin when Antti Miettinen punched a loose puck through Peter Budaj's pads with 6:02 left, less than 2 1/2 minutes after Eric Lindros stormed through the slot and took a cross-ice pass from Mike Modano to score the tying goal.

Morrow was gimpy when he came off the ice during a shift change midway through the second period and didn't return. He described it as a "slight groin tweak" and said he would be re-evaluated Tuesday.

"It was a freaky thing, just skating on the ice," Morrow said. "The key guys in this room picked us up with big goals from Eric and Antti."

But without Morrow's contribution, the Stars might have never had a chance.

Colorado, which eliminated Dallas in the first round of the last two playoffs, jumped out to a 2-0 lead on two goals by Marek Svatos in the first seven minutes.

"Tonight was right up there as far as frustrating," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've been trying to get some momentum to start feeling better about ourselves."

The Avalanche were playing their third road game in four nights, and coming off back-to-back victories against Columbus and Minnesota.

Colorado went ahead 4-3 on John-Michael Liles' one-timer on a power play in the opening minute of the third period.

Already on the power play to start the final period, the Avalanche quickly gained a two-man advantage when Sergei Zubov was called for hooking. Liles' fourth goal of the season came on the next shot.

"It was a roller-coaster game," said Milan Hejduk, who had a second-period goal for Colorado. "They created a lot of scoring chances. Budaj gave us some great saves, but the finish was not there."

Budaj had 26 saves.

Liles scored on a pass from Joe Sakic and slammed the puck past rookie goalie Mike Smith, who stopped 16 of 18 shots after replacing Turco.

"That's what I'm back there for," said Smith, who was 2-1 in his three starts earlier this season. "You just go in there and try to give your team a chance. It wasn't one guy. The whole club did a great job coming back. It's a huge win for our club."

The Stars had lost four of six games.

Sakic also assisted on the first two Colorado goals. His 929 career assists matched Larry Murphy for 13th on the NHL career list.

Turco was done after Svatos slipped a shot between the goalie and the left post for his seventh goal of the season and a 2-0 lead just 6:51 in.

Svatos scored at 2:01 in when his shot from the centre of the left circle hit Turco's right pad and trickled under him - the puck barely sliding into the net. That came only seconds after Turco made a sprawling save to stop a point-blank shot by Svatos.

Morrow's two goals came in even quicker succession.

Just after a power play ended, Morrow took a centring pass from Mike Ribeiro and scored on a one-timer with 3 minutes left in the first period. With 14 seconds remaining, he knocked the puck into the upper right corner for his eighth goal on a pass from Miettinen.

Zubov scored from the blue line early in the second period to put Dallas up 3-2. But the Avs got even when Hejduk knocked in a puck that was loose behind Smith, when the goalie thought it was secured under his pads.

Notes: Stars RW Jere Lehtinen missed his third straight game because of a sore leg. ... Karlis Skrastins of the Avs played in his 454th consecutive game, the second-longest streak by an NHL defenceman. The record is 486, by Tim Horton for Toronto from 1961-68. ... Brett Hull, now a special assistant to the Stars president, has reached an agreement with NBC to be a studio analyst for 24 games starting in January.