1/24/97 -- 11:25 PM


LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - There's no such thing as a home-ice advantage against the Dallas Stars, especially when the Washington Capitals are involved.

Arturs Irbe had 36 saves and Stars enjoyed another road win against Washington, scoring three goals in the decisive second period en route to a 5-2 victory Friday night.

Mike Modano, Darryl Sydor and Dave Reid each had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who registered their NHL-best 15th road victory. Dallas has 32 points on the road compared to 29 all last season.

``I don't know. It seems we relax more and play smarter on the road,'' Sydor said.

``We're the type of team that's built for the road. We have four lines that play well and we use a lot of people in different positions,'' Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. ``So we don't allow ourselves to get extended too far. We're able to carry the game longer, and we're also very patient.''

The Stars are 5-1 on the road against Washington since March 1991, the lone exception a 2-1 loss last season. Dallas, which beat the Capitals at home in October, swept the season series for the first time since 1993-94.

Irbe was 0-3 since Dec. 20, but only Sylvain Cote and Steve Konowalchuk were able to get the puck past him. Irbe (5-6-1) owns a 2.65 goals-against average in away games and a 4.17 mark at home.

``I play more on the road and I like the booing sometimes. The fans get a little upset by the visiting team, and if I can add to it, that just makes me more happy,'' Irbe said.

Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld was seemingly more irritated with Washington than were the fans in the sellout crowd of 18,130.

``I thought our play away from the puck was sorely lacking tonight,'' he said. ``Dallas deserves some marks - they won a lot of one-on-one battles - and once they got inside our blue line they did a better job of fighting for the puck than we did.''

The Stars took the lead for good at 1:06 of the second period when Reid sent a backhand pass across the crease that Guy Carbonneau put in from the left side of the net.

Sydor made it 3-1 at 6:19, scoring from inside the left circle while the Capitals were attempting to kill a five-minute high-sticking penalty against Craig Berube.

Modano put in his own rebound at 17:07 after the Capitals were called for too many men on the ice. The period ended with Dallas up 4-1, and the Stars had no problem improving to 20-0-1 when leading after two periods.

Konowalchuk scored with 9:16 left, but an empty-net goal by Reid clinched it with 58 seconds to go.

``We're a better road team than a home team,'' Irbe said. ``At home, we sometimes try a showtime play and do some things that are not necessary. On the road we just keep it tight all the time, don't take any chances and wait for mistakes to happen on the opposition's part.''

The Stars took a 1-0 lead at 5:06 when the rebound of a shot by Brent Gilchrist ricocheted off the skate of Grant Marshall and into the net. Although it was hardly a conventional goal, it was a good sign for Dallas - the Stars came in with an 18-4-2 record when scoring first.

A power-play goal by Cote tied it at 12:19.

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