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Antti Miettinen and Marty Turco lift Stars past Maple Leafs, 3-1

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

DALLAS - Mike Ribeiro grew up in Montreal and played for the Canadiens, and he's never been a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Even playing for Dallas, he revels in the chance to beat Toronto. Ribeiro scored his ninth career goal against the Maple Leafs and Antti Miettinen added the tiebreaker as the Stars stretched their season-best winning streak to four games with a 3-1 victory over the Maple Leafs on Friday night.

"When I was growing up, Montreal-Toronto was a big rivalry," said Ribeiro, who had eight goals and eight assists in 22 games against Toronto over six seasons with Montreal. "I've always liked playing against Toronto."

Facing the Maple Leafs for the first time in a Stars uniform, Ribeiro tied it at one at 3:11 of the second period.

Skating from behind the net to the left circle, Ribeiro turned and fired, with the puck trickling through the pads of Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala and over the goal line.

Then, with the game tied at one late in the second period, a forechecking Miettinen stole the puck from Toronto defenceman Tomas Kaberle, skated in alone and beat Toskala for Miettinen's second goal of the season.

Kaberle and defensive partner Andy Wozniewski were both near the puck before Miettinen took possession and broke between them.

"It was just a misunderstanding from both of us," Kaberle said. "We've just got to make sure it's not going to happen again. Right now we can't do anything about it, but talk it over on the plane."

Marty Turco, back in goal after backup Mike Smith started and won the previous three games, made 18 saves for the Stars.

"We've been playing sound hockey," Turco said. "We're doing little things that add up to the big picture."

Dallas is 4-0-1 since a front-office shakeup by owner Tom Hicks that included the firing of general manager Doug Armstrong.

Now the players are trying to make an impression on interim co-general managers Brett Hull and Les Jackson.

"With new general managers, I think everybody is trying to prove he can play," Ribeiro said.

Jeff Halpern scored into an empty net with 39.3 seconds remaining to ice the victory after Toskala went to the bench with less then a minute left.

Mike Modano assisted on Halpern's goal, stretching Modano's record for points by a U.S.-born player to 1,240.

Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the Maple Leafs' lone goal.

The Stars played without right wing Jere Lehtinen, sidelined indefinitely by an abdominal strain. However, coach Dave Tippett said after the game that Lehtinen might not need surgery as the club originally thought.

"We'll continue to look at it," Tippett said. "We'll do some tests and see how it reacts over the next few days."

Lehtinen, a native of Espoo, Finland, led the Stars with 26 goals last season. The 13-year NHL veteran has six goals and 13 assists in 21 games this season.

Toskala stopped 22 shots in his third straight start.

Toronto, 1-3-2 in its last six games, grabbed the early momentum on Ponikarovsky's eighth goal at 3:05 of the opening period. Ponikarovsky drove hard to the net and converted Mats Sundin's pass from behind the cage.

Notes: Miettinen sat out the third period with what the Stars termed a "lower-body injury" and Tippett didn't know after the game if Miettinen would miss any games. ... Dallas activated LW Brad Winchester from IR and assigned him to Iowa of the AHL for conditioning. Winchester sustained an abdominal strain in a game at Phoenix on Nov. 6 and missed the next eight games. ... Out for Toronto were D Carlo Colaiavoco (knee), D Pavel Kubina (knee) and C Chad Kilger (leg). ... The teams were playing for the first time since Dec. 10, 2005. The last meeting between the teams in Dallas was Oct. 22, 2003. ... Dallas captain Brenden Morrow assisted on Ribeiro's goal, giving him a career-high points streak of six games.


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