DALLAS – Marty Turco’s solid goaltending and an improved power play are pushing the Dallas Stars up the Western Conference standings.
Turco stopped 24 shots, Jere Lehtinen and rookie James Neal scored power-play goals, and the Stars stretched their season-long winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
Brad Richards added an insurance goal late in the third period for the Stars, who are 9-1-1 in their past 11 home games.
“We’ve come together the last month,” Richards said. “It took some time for everybody to get together.”
Dallas began the night 25th in the league in power-play percentage, but the Stars have five man-advantage goals in their past three games.
“Our special teams have been good, Marty has been excellent and we are doing things that allow us to win,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
The teams were meeting for the first time since Dec. 2 in Calgary when then-Dallas winger Sean Avery made crude comments to reporters about ex-girlfriends, words that led to Avery’s suspension and eventual parting of the ways with the Stars.
Dallas was a 3-1 winner in that game, sparking a 16-7-3 run to move from 15th to sixth in the conference.
Turco has been a catalyst, allowing 12 goals in his past seven games. He improved to 14-6-3 in his career against Calgary.
“It’s been a great sight to see, doing whatever it takes to win games, blocking shots, clicking on the power play,” Turco said. “We’re starting to see what we’re capable of and I think I’m coming around.”
Michael Cammalleri scored his 13th power-play goal of the season and Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves for the Flames, who lost their second straight but are still 14-5-3 in their past 22 games. Calgary was beaten 4-3 at Colorado on Monday night.
Flames general manager Darryl Sutter met with his team for about five minutes after the game. The message: play better on the road, where the Flames have lost four of their past five.
Calgary is 11-11-1 on the road, 19-5-3 at home.
“(Sutter) tells it like it is,” Flames centre Craig Conroy said. “Obviously we’re not playing well on the road right now. Enough with the excuses. We have to play better on the road. There are a lot of opportunities to do that. We’re giving away points right now.”
Neal flipped a rebound of his own shot over a sprawling Kiprusoff at 4:21 of the second period to give Dallas a 2-1 edge.
Dallas had a chance to extend that lead on the power play with about 4:15 remaining when Stephane Robidas’ shot from just inside the blue line hit the right post.
But Richards scored off the backhand on a give-and-go with Neal at 16:44 of the third period to give Dallas a two-goal pad.
Cammalleri’s power-play rebound at 6:52 of the first period provided the Flames with early momentum. Seconds earlier, Todd Bertuzzi appeared to have knocked a rebound past Turco, but a video review proved inconclusive and Cammalleri was credited with his team-high 26th goal.
Lehtinen’s deflection of Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point with 43.8 seconds left in the first period tied it at one.
Notes: Dallas is 7-1-1 in its past nine home games with Calgary. … C Wayne Primeau (foot) and D Rhett Warrener (shoulder) were out for the Flames. … RWs Mark Parrish (flu) and Landon Wilson (ribs) were sidelined for the Stars. … Dallas began a stretch of 11 of 14 home games.