The Dallas Stars hosted the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center on November 15, 2002. Both franchises had experienced significant moves in the mid-1990s. The Stars moved from Minnesota to Texas in 1993, and the Avalanche had been the Quebec Nordiques until 1995. The Avalanche had won the Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2002, while the Stars won the Cup in 1999. This particular game in 2002 would not have been significant but for a player from each team – Mike Modano and Patrick Roy – reaching milestones.Forward Mike Modano was the first draft pick for the Minnesota North Stars in 1988, which meant that he made the move with them five years later. About halfway through the first period of the game on November 15, 2002, he assisted on Ulf Dahlen’s goal. Although that was Modano’s only point of the game, it was the 1,000th point of his career. He was only the fifth American-born player to earn that many. On another November day, November 7, 2007, Modano surpassed Phil Housley to become the American-born player with the highest number of points. It took him 242 fewer games to accomplish. His two goals in the first five minutes brought him up to 1,233 points. When Modano retired in 2011, he had accumulated 1,374 regular-season points (561G, 813A), which is still the record for American-born players (and 24th overall). From playoffs, Modano earned another 146 points (58G, 88A), also the most by any American-born player. Modano played all but his last season for the Stars.
Goalie Patrick Roy had already had 12 stellar years with the Montreal Canadiens before joining the franchise he’d cheered on as a child. However, he joined them for their first year in Colorado instead of remaining in Quebec, Canada. Rather than midway through the first period like Modano, Roy did not reach his milestone until halfway through the third. At that point, he passed Terry Sawchuk’s record of 57,194 minutes played. It took Sawchuk 21 seasons to accomplish, and Roy had passed him in his 19th. Roy finished the night with 57,202 minutes and had stopped 18 shots of 22. The Avalanche still lost 4-2. When Roy retired at the end of the season, he had played 60,214 minutes. Only one goalie, Martin Brodeur (with 74,439 minutes), has passed him thus far.
Of the four games the two teams played against each other during the 2002-03 season, the Stars won two games and tied two games with the Avalanche. Both teams finished first in their divisions, but the Stars had more points at 111 (46-17-15-4) than the Avalanche with 105 points (42-19-13-8). During the playoffs, the Stars failed to make it through the conference semi-finals while the Avalanche could not make it past the quarter-finals. Still, Modano was tenth in points and fourth in assists for that season. Roy was sixth in save percentage and goals against average.
- Liam Maguire, Next Goal Wins! (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2012), 176.