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If the defending Western Conference champion Edmonton Oilers make the playoffs by one point this season, they can thank Dallas forward Patrik Stefan for their good fortune.

Edmonton entered this weekend three points out of the final playoff spot, but the distance would have been four if Stefan finished off the easiest of plays - scoring into an empty net from point-blank range.

Dallas trailed 4-1 at Edmonton on Thursday night, but surged to a 5-4 lead. Stefan had the clincher on his stick as the seconds ticked down.

Without being chased into the Oilers zone, Stefan moved closer and closer to the vacated net. He calmly carried the puck and was about to steer it into the goal when a sudden bounce popped it from his stick.

No goal, no puck, no win ... yet. The Oilers got the puck back, fired it back up the ice with a long pass, and tied the game with 2.2 seconds remaining when Ales Hemsky scored.

Dallas recovered from the gaffe to win 6-5 in a shootout.

"They may show it a million times for years to come," Stefan said of the no-goal. "I mean, we came out with the two points so it's easy to laugh about it right now.

"It's not like I missed the net, I saw it was bad ice and I had so much time so I just tried to carry it all the way to the net. As soon as I put it on my backhand it jumped over my stick. Not much I can do about that."

The Stars took a lot of the heat off Stefan, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, by winning but the Oilers salvaged a point that seemed all but lost.

"We were bestowed upon a miracle at the end," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "I have never seen anything like it. It's one of those moments in hockey that you'll remember forever. It turned a disaster into a debacle."
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