Jeff Halpern scored the only goal the Stars would need 24 seconds into the game and Marty Turco made 35 saves for his first career playoff shutout as Dallas blanked the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 Friday to even their NHL first-round playoff series at a game each.
“That first blow was big for our team,” said Halpern. “For us it was something we needed.
“From Marty on out, it made for a solid game all around.”
Joel Lundqvist sealed the deal for the Stars when he scored 45 seconds into the second period and Stu Barnes added a pair of assists. The split was important for Dallas who lost the opening game of the series 5-4 in quadruple overtime.
“Any time you lose a game you want to come back and have a good start,” said Barnes. “It was nice to get the goal real early like that.
“I don’t know if you can plan something like that but you want to come out and have a good effort.”
Turco shrugged when asked about his first shutout in 24 career playoff games.
“I thought I had one the other night,” he deadpanned. “I went three straight periods. I count those.
“It’s great for the team to shut these guys down. We played a solid 60 minutes, scored early and continued to push. I’ve got to hand it to the guys for pushing and doing the things that make us successful.”
The wave of emotion the Canucks were riding after the overtime win hit a rock when the Stars took the early lead.
“It was a shame because that was the ball game, pretty much,” said Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo, who made 25 saves. “First shift, the first two periods, they score and that’s it.”
The best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final now moves to Dallas for Game 3 Sunday (CBC, 9:30 ET).
Dallas played the game with more jump and an intensity the Canucks lacked. The Stars moved the puck with authority and always seemed to have a player open for a pass or ready to ride a Canuck out of the play.
Vancouver responded to giving up the early goal by not getting a shot on net until 6:40 of the first period.
“We’ve got to be sharper,” said Canuck centre Brendan Morrison. “It’s happened so many times to us this year where we’ve given up a goal on the first shift.”
While Turco was steady he wasn’t forced to make many stellar saves. His best stops came when he blocked Daniel Sedin on his doorstep, then got in front of a Willie Mitchell shot, both in the third period.
“He was solid in there,” said Dallas coach Dave Tippett. “I didn’t think they had a lot of great chances or outnumbered rushes, but there was a lot of poking and prodding around the net.”
Barnes said the victory was an important counterpunch for the Stars but Dallas heads home knowing a long, hard fight remains.
“You want to get at least one in the road building but it is just one game,” he said. “This draws us even.
“We have to regroup and get ready for Game 3 now.”
Luongo bristled when asked what the loss means to the Canuck momentum.
“It doesn’t do anything,” he said. “We didn’t think we were going to sweep the series.
“We’ve been playing well on the road all year long. We’re a confident group that we’ll get the job done on the road.”
Halpern scored when he deflected a Sergei Zubov shot past a surprised Luongo. Lundqvist made it 2-0 after Mike Modano fed him a pretty backhand pass and he beat Luongo on the short side.
Luongo had a tough first period. He was slow to get up after being hit in the face by a Niklas Hagman shot, then had his mask knocked off when Antti Miettinen breezed through his crease.
Halpern’s goal set franchise playoff records for both teams.
For Dallas, it was the fastest goal to begin a game since Mike Keane scored 26 second into a game at home against Edmonton on April 14, 2001 and Stewart Gavin in St. Louis on April 20, 1991.
It also was the quickest goal the Canucks had allowed since Mark Messier scored for Edmonton 33 seconds into an April 10, 1986 playoff game.
Jannik Hansen, a 21-year-old from Denmark who the Canucks called up from the Manitoba Moose, didn’t look out of place in his first NHL game.
He had 9:43 of ice time, four shots on net and had a hit.
The Canucks played without Matt Cooke (groin), Alex Burrows (suspected concussion) and Ryan Kesler (broken finger).
Notes – Defenceman Brent Sopel, who missed Game 1 with back spasms, returned to the lineup sending Rory Fitzpatrick to the press box. …Henrik Sedin’s winning goal in the fourth overtime period of Game 1 was his second playoff OT winner. He also beat Detroit in OT of the first game of the 2002 playoffs. ….It was Bryan Smolinski’s 101st playoff game.