ANAHEIM, Calif., April 30 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars finally handed Anaheim a loss Monday to avoid a nearly insurmountable deficit in the NHL Western Conference semifinals.
The New Jersey Devils hope for the return of one of their leaders and some revenge Wednesday night when they face the Tampa Bay Ligthtning in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
On Monday, All-Star Bill Guerin played for the first time since late February, and the Stars edged the Mighty Ducks, 2-1, in Game Three of their best-of-seven playoff series. Jere Lehtinen scored twice, and Marty Turco made 31 saves for Dallas, which has won only one of nine all-time series when losing the first two games.
The Stars will try to draw even in Game Four Wednesday in Anaheim.
While Guerin played just under eight minutes, his return meant a lot to teammates.
"Billy's influence began well before he stepped on that ice," Turco said. "He's such a great leader and vocal guy who does all the right things when it matters most. Just to hear his voice and see him skating around in warmups probably meant more to us than playing."
The Mighty Ducks, who were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 in their only prior semifinal appearance, had won six straight one-goal games, and were the last remaining unbeaten team this postseason.
Anaheim had a pair of overtime wins in completing a stunning sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings in the quarterfinals, and had a five-overtime win in Game One at Dallas before Mike Leclerc scored 1:44 into the extra session for a 3-2 win in Game Two.
The series moves back to Dallas on Saturday for Game Five.
New Jersey also built a two games to none lead in its series before Tampa Bay earned a 4-3 home-ice win Monday night. Martin Brodeur allowed three first-period goals in a playoff game for the first time in his career before New Jersey tallied three times in the second.
Former Devil Dave Andreychuk got the game-winning goal with 13:52 remaining after Devils Coach Pat Burns was unable to complete a player change, leaving his team with four forwards and one defenseman.
While the Devils were left with one defenseman on the ice as Tampa Bay scored the game-winning goal, they played nearly the entire game without Scott Stevens, who left 77 seconds into the contest after he suffered a lacerated ear when he was hit by a shot from Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina. After the game, some players questioned whether it was intentional, while Kubina and Lightning Coach John Tortorella both denied it.
Stevens, 39, has played in 137 consecutive playoffs games with the Devils.
Tampa Bay, like Anaheim, is trying to advance past the semifinals for the first time.
Game Five is Friday in New Jersey.