DALLAS (AP) -- This was the kind of game NHL executives dream
about: Two elite clubs playing at their best before a national TV
audience, needing overtime to settle it. When five thrilling
minutes weren't enough, on came a shootout -- one that was extended
to sudden death by a bizarre play overturning an apparent winning
Turco made 27 saves and was bailed out for two mistakes -- a
slashing penalty and a thrown stick -- when Mike Modano pounded a
shot into the top of the net in the first round of sudden death,
giving the Stars a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday.
"It was an exciting afternoon," Modano said. "NBC probably
couldn't have asked for a better game."
"The only people who didn't like that game was the American
Airlines Center crew," joked Stars coach Dave Tippett, referring
to the long game (2 hours, 51 minutes) making it even tougher for
arena workers to convert the playing surface in time for the second
half of Dallas' first-ever NHL-NBA doubleheader.
The Stars, playing their third shootout in 3½ days, won their
fourth straight game and second in a row over Detroit after going
10 games against them without a win. Dallas also improved its
league-best shootout record to 8-0 and upped its point total to 70,
one behind Detroit for the most in the Western Conference.
"We keep getting closer to those guys," Turco said.
The Red Wings fell to 1-1-2 in their last four games. They are
1-1 in shootouts, or, as coach Mike Babcock called it, "the thing
at the end."
"I think the fans love it, but it's got nothing to do with the
game," he said.
Turco, a former University of Michigan star, had been 0-5-5
against Detroit. Although the Stars beat the Red Wings 6-3 in his
last start, he was pulled after letting the club fall behind 3-0.
He was superb from the start this time, snuffing the league's
top power play on its first five chances, including more than 1½
minutes when they had a two-man advantage. Then he gave the Red
Wings a sixth power play by slashing Tomas Holmstrom early in the
third period and Holmstrom scored during it.
Dallas' Jere Lehtinen tied the game with 5:12 left, then Turco
turned away seven shots in overtime -- most on another Detroit power
play -- to force the shootout.
With the Stars up 2-1 after two rounds, Turco had a chance to
seal the victory by stopping Henrik Zetterberg. He did, too,
forcing him to push the puck wide right.
But Turco's stick slipped out of his hands while he tried to
poke away the puck. Turco immediately turned to an official and
shook his blocker to indicate he did nothing wrong. The official
apparently agreed because the Stars began celebrating. Then replay
officials took another look, ruled it a thrown stick and credited
Zetterberg with the tying score.
"I didn't mean to throw it, but I'm sure it was the right
call," Turco said.
Detroit goaltender Manny Legace followed by stopping Antti
Miettinen, forcing sudden death. Turco then redeemed himself by
popping Robert Lang's shot over the goal and Modano ended it with a
blistering shot past Legace.
"It comes down to a skills competition and their skill is
better than mine," Legace said.
Legace made 19 saves, including several excellent ones. He
stopped Modano at the edge of the crease to preserve the shutout
midway through the third period and stopped Jason Arnott in the
opening seconds of overtime. Arnott then drew the penalty that put
the heat on Turco for much of the overtime.
As exciting as the game way, it actually got off to a bumpy
start with five penalties the first six minutes. Things were so out
of control that a Dallas player was released from the penalty box
too soon and the game clock was reset to 20:00 during the
confusion. Detroit also had a goal waived off because of a high
^Notes:@ Turco stopped 2-of-4 shootout attempts. He came in
11-of-12. ... Lehtinen's goal was his 25th and ended a skid of
seven games without a point. ... The only teams Turco hasn't beaten
are Philadelphia (0-0-3) and Pittsburgh (0-1-0). ... The Red Wings
have scored a power-play goal in 14 straight games.