PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinal; Oilers lead 1-0.
Dallas tries to avoid heading to Edmonton in two-games-to-none hole when the teams continue their Western Conference quarterfinal series at American Airlines Center.
The top-seeded Stars worked all season to finish with the best record in the Western Conference and get home ice in the opening round of the playoffs, but the eighth-seeded Oilers quickly erased that advantage with a 2-1 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday.
“It’s a good feeling knowing we can beat a team like this in a close game, but it’s a long way from over,” Smyth said. “They are an experienced team and are going to come out with a big bang next game.”
Dallas has won the last four playoff matchups between the teams, but won Game 1 each time and never trailed in the series. The last time Edmonton held a series lead against Dallas was in the 1997 quarterfinals, when it won two of the first three games en route to a stunning seven-game upset of the Stars.
Having to overcome a series deficit, however, shouldn’t phase Dallas.
The Stars won the Western Conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals in 1999, and the 2000 conference finals after losing all three openers.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” captain Derian Hatcher said. “We know what to do.”
Dallas could also be a stronger team in Game 2 if defenseman Philippe Boucher can return from a bruised chest.
“It doesn’t need to be 100 percent, but the key is the risk factor,” Boucher said. “It’s not about pain, I’ll play with pain.”
Right wing Bill Guerin, sidelined since Feb. 27 with a severely bruised thigh, will not play in Game 2 and is not expected to make the trip to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4.
Mike Modano staked the Stars to a 1-0 lead Wednesday, but Turco, who set an NHL record with a 1.72 goals-against average during the regular season, wasn’t sharp in allowing two goals on 23 shots.
“I felt pretty good in terms of nerves,” said Turco, who was making his first NHL playoff appearance. “We certainly learned a lesson. We’re in for a battle.”
Salo, 4-12 in the postseason, turned away all 13 shots he faced over the final two periods for just his seventh win in 33 career decisions, including playoffs, against Dallas.
“It’s a team effort and I’m just one person,” Salo said. “If I can do my job and the other guys do theirs, we have a good chance to beat them.”
In 28 playoff games between the Stars and Oilers since 1997, 20 have been decided by one goal.
The series shifts to the Skyreach Centre for Game 3 on Sunday.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Oilers - 92 points; 8th seed. Stars - 111 points; 1st seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Smyth and Horcoff, 1 goal; four with 1 assist; six with 1 point; Cory Cross and Brad Isbister, 4 PIM. Stars - Modano, 1 goal; Sergei Zubov and Darryl Sydor, 1 assist; Hatcher, 12 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 5). Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (4 for 5). Stars - Power play: 20.0 percent (1 for 5). Penalty killing: 100.0 percent (5 for 5).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Stars, 3-1. Turco beat Edmonton 3-0 in the series opener Oct. 15, and the Stars won the next two meetings by 4-3 and 4-1 scores. The Oilers avoided the sweep by rallying with a three-goal third period to win 4-3 on March 15 at the Skyreach Centre.