<
>

Miettinen's two goals help Stars beat Central leaders

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars, minus three of their top
goal-scoring threats, got a much-needed offensive spark from right
wing Antti Miettinen.

Miettinen had a career-high two goals, both on power plays, and
Jere Lehtinen scored the go-ahead goal on a power play to help the
Stars beat the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators 4-1 on
Friday night.

With the game tied at 1, the Stars were skating 5-on-3 when
Sergei Zubov set up Lehtinen for his ninth goal of the season and
199th of his career at 7:02 of the third.

Another Nashville penalty resulted in another two-man advantage
for Dallas. Miettinen, scoreless in his previous 10 games, struck
32 seconds after Lehtinen, collecting his eighth of the season from
close range to give Dallas a 3-1 edge.

"What's made it tough is that I haven't been playing well
overall," Miettinen said. "It's a relief. Maybe this will break
the shell that's around me."

Marty Turco made 19 saves, and Patrik Stefan added an empty-net
goal with 36 seconds left for the Stars, who've won five of their
last seven games.

Stars coach Dave Tippett said a key to the victory was
capitalizing on the 5-on-3s.

"It's an opportunity in a game to seize momentum," Tippett
said. "Our 5-on-3 got us a couple of goals. That was the turning
point right there."

Sitting out for the Stars were left wing and captain Brenden
Morrow (severed tendons in his right wrist), center Eric Lindros
(upper body injury), and their offensive catalyst, center Mike
Modano (hip flexor/groin injury), who missed his 12th straight
game. Dallas is 7-5 since Modano's injury.

"With the guys we have out, we have to win one-on-one battles
and be hard to play against," Miettinen said.

Scott Hartnell got the Nashville goal and Chris Mason stopped 26
shots for the Predators, 7-1 in their previous eight games.

Nashville, 2-14 in Dallas, was whistled for five penalties in
the third period. Predators coach Barry Trotz didn't have a problem
with any of the calls.

"We took too many bad penalties," Trotz. "When I look at the
replays of those penalties, they were non-working penalties. We
deserved what we got. Dallas had some of their big guys out and
they had other guys step up."

Friday night marked the Texas return of Predators center Jason
Arnott, who played the previous three-plus seasons for the Stars.
Arnott, signed by Nashville as a free agent in the offseason, was
injured and did not skate in the teams' only other meeting this
season on Nov. 22, a 1-0 Dallas victory.

Arnott had three goals in his previous three games for the
Predators, but went scoreless against his former team.

Out for the Predators were goalie Tomas Vokoun (thumb), centers
Scott Nichol (suspended) and Vernon Fiddler (shoulder) and right
wing Scottie Upshall (groin).

Dallas held a 10-4 shots advantage in the opening 20 minutes but
Nashville carried a 1-0 lead into the break.

"I thought the first period was one of our better periods this
season," Stars center Jeff Halpern said. "The effort is something
we're proud of."

Hartnell converted Alexander Radulov's lead pass at 4:51 of the
opening period, Hartnell's 15th goal of the season.

Miettinen's power-play rebound at 5:29 of the second period, his
first since Nov. 27, tied it at 1.

The Stars had an apparent rebound goal by Miettinen disallowed
with 1:41 left in the second period when the officials blew the
whistle after losing sight of the puck.

Turco was heartened when his teammates had the better of the
play in the first period despite the deficit.

"It was a hard-nosed game for us," Turco said. "It was great
to see. I like our chances when we play like that."

Game notes
Dallas has had three power-play goals in each of the last
two games. ... Vokoun and Fidder are close to returning to action.
... Modano is still a few days away from skating full speed at
practice. ... Morrow is out for at least two months after having
his wrist run over by a skate blade in a game on Tuesday night at
Chicago. ... Stars RW Matthew Barnaby was a healthy scratch. ...
Hartnell had a goal disallowed with 8:15 left when replays showed
that he threw the puck into the net.