DENVER (AP) -- Stars rookie Chris Conner woke up Wednesday in Des
Moines, Iowa, traveled to Denver for an NHL game and planned to
sleep in a hotel bed when he got to Dallas.
At least he hoped to sleep in a hotel.
"I think they set us up?" Conner said after he scored his
first NHL goal in the Stars' 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on
Wednesday night. "It's been kind of crazy."
"I'm just trying to help the team win," he said.
Conner was recalled from Iowa of the AHL earlier in the day to
replace captain Brenden Morrow, who was back home in Dallas
recuperating from wrist surgery. Morrow was injured in Dallas' loss
to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday and underwent surgery later to
repair severed tendons in his right wrist after he was stepped on
by a skate.
The Stars were also without alternate captain Mike Modano (hip
flexor), Eric Lindros (upper body injury) and Steve Ott (fractured
ankle) and yet still found a way to earn the win.
"This after losing a heart and soul guy in Brenden," said Jeff
Halpern, who had a goal and two assists. "The young guys and the
veterans balanced out well for us. The young guys got us started
and the veterans finished it up."
Trailing 4-3, Dallas got goals from Halpern and Sergei Zubov
1:16 apart early in the third period to give Dallas a lead it
wouldn't give up.
Dallas' scoring spree also ended the night of Avalanche goalie
Jose Theodore. Colorado coach Joel Quenneville pulled Theodore with
18:08 remaining in the game and put in Peter Budaj. Theodore saved
just 17 of 22 shots.
"The goaltending wasn't good enough at that stage of the
game," Quenneville explained. "Putting Peter in gave us a little
spark, and we needed better goaltending."
Marty Turco was his typically solid self -- especially of late --
stopping 28 shots and winning for the third time in his last four
To get the win, though, Turco and the Stars survived a 6-on-4
opportunity when the Avalanche pulled Budaj with 43 seconds left
and Trevor Daley was called for holding with 10.4 seconds left.
The Avalanche were 2-for-6 on the power play.
"We had a little bit of everybody tonight," Turco said. "It
was a great team effort."
With Morrow missing for an indefinitely, that's the way the
Stars have to play. Jere Lehtinen had a goal and two assists and
Loui Eriksson scored his third goal of the season 2:57 into the
"We're going to have to cope with Brenden's loss as a team,"
Turco said. "We'll adjust. We can't feel sorry for us."
Wojtek Wolski had a goal and two assists for Colorado. He now
has five points in his last two games.
Wolski also made a play that had the crowd buzzing. Wolski went
up the left boards, only to be cut off by Dallas defender Stephane
Robidas. Wolski put the puck around Robidas, grabbed it on the
other side and shot a wrister off Turco. Joe Sakic picked up the
rebound and put it in for his 16th goal of the season.
"We were taking the puck to the net and creating space and that
opened the game up a lot [early]," Wolski said.
The momentum Wolski's goal created was stolen when Conner scored
26 seconds later.
"It was awesome. I can't say any more," Conner said of his
first goal. "I hope my mom and dad were watching in Michigan."
In his haste, though, Conner forgot to grab the puck.
However, teammate Stu Barnes was watching out for Conner and
retrieved it for him.
"This is just a great, great feeling," Conner said.
Sakic now has 1,529 career points, two behind Paul Coffey
for 10th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list. ... Colorado
defenseman Patrice Brisebois suffered a back injury in the second
period and didn't return. ... A makeup date for the
Colorado-Calgary game has yet to be announced. The game was
postponed on Dec. 21 after a blizzard dumped close to 30 inches of
snow on the city. ... Paul Stastny turned 21 on Wednesday and had
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Pepsi Center Location: Denver, Colorado
Referees: Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke Linesmen: Don Henderson, Brian Mach
Attendance: 18,007 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Loui Eriksson (2)
(Power Play) Assists: Jeff Halpern, Jaroslav Modry
Wojtek Wolski (11)
Assist: Ken Klee
Joe Sakic (15)
Assist: Wojtek Wolski
Chris Conner (1)
Assists: Trevor Daley, Stu Barnes
John-Michael Liles (10)
(Power Play) Unassisted
Andrew Brunette (10)
(Power Play) Assists: Paul Stastny, Wojtek Wolski
Jere Lehtinen (8)
(Power Play) Assists: Jeff Halpern, Sergei Zubov
Sergei Zubov (6)
Assists: Mike Ribeiro, Jere Lehtinen
Jeff Halpern (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Jere Lehtinen, Philippe Boucher