Stu Barnes scored in the ninth round of the shootout, beating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 and making Turco the Stars’ all-time leader in victories on Saturday night.
“To be here where the franchise started, to accomplish that here, was probably too perfect if you draw it up,” said Turco, who has 161 wins in 295 career games. Ed Belfour won 160 times in 307 games.
Dallas played regular-season game No. 1,000 since moving from Minnesota in 1993, winning for the fifth straight time against the replacements – who joined the league in 2000.
Barnes, who beat Niklas Backstrom for the winner, was the fifth player to score out of 18 shots in the extra session. For Barnes, this was only his second try in the shootout this season.
“It’s usually exciting to watch,” he said, laughing. “But when they tap your shoulder, you’ve got to be ready to go out there.”
Pascal Dupuis lost the puck when Turco poked it away on the last chance for the Wild, who lost their fourth straight at home but picked up nine points in their last six games before the break.
“Especially with the injuries that we have, it’s a good five days for them,” said Mikko Koivu, who tied the game at 1 with 6:55 remaining in regulation on a rebound in the slot.
“It’s going to be big games right away, so we want to be ready for those and all the way the rest of the season,” Koivu said.
Niklas Hagman scored for Dallas in regulation.
Hagman has been on the ice more recently and, as a result, scoring more, too. Reaching his career high with his 11th goal this season, Hagman has scored six times in the last nine games. In the first 39 games, he had only five goals.
Defencemen Keith Carney and Kim Johnsson and centre Pavol Demitra each returned from injuries for Minnesota, positives overshadowed by the loss of Fernandez. Backstrom – appearing for just the second time in the last 12 games – played capably in relief. He made 26 saves.
Coach Jacques Lemaire said he wasn’t worried about the injury, especially with five days off for Fernandez during the break.
“You know what really gave me confidence today was Backstrom, the way he played,” Lemaire said.
Putting himself in perfect position for Antti Miettinen’s pass through traffic, Hagman camped out near the right post and one-timed a shot past Backstrom to give the Stars the lead.
But it was Turco, who made 25 saves before the shootout, who came up big again for a team that – like the Wild – has been hampered frequently by injuries.
Minnesota and Dallas might have been tempted to compare wounds between periods. Both teams have been significantly banged up after strong starts, which has literally hurt their attempt to move up in the conference standings. The Stars and Wild were in fifth and eight place, respectively, when the day began.
“We’ll take those two points any way we can get them right there,” coach Dave Tippett said. “It’s the end of a real good week for us. We’re playing a little understaffed.”
Notes: Turco is 9-4 in 14 career games against the Wild. … Gov. Tim Pawlenty led Minnesota’s traditional “Let’s play hockey” call before the opening faceoff, carefully announcing that it was “time to drop the puck.” At last season’s opener, Pawlenty tripped over “puck” and produced a similar-sounding word unfit for print he later apologized for. … With Johnsson and Carney coming back, defenceman Erik Reitz was reassigned by the Wild to the minors.