By John Tranchina
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DALLAS (Ticker) — Perhaps all the Dallas Stars needed was a
reminder of how good they could be.
Marty Turco made 37 saves in his 17th consecutive start as the
Stars clipped the Detroit Red Wings, 3-1, on Friday in a matchup
of last season’s Western Conference finalists.
Tom Wandell scored his first career goal and fellow rookie
Fabian Brunnstrom also tallied for Dallas before Mike Ribeiro
recorded an empty-netter with one minute left in the third
“We certainly think about it, recalling what happened last year
in the playoffs, the team that beats you out, that’s right there
in the front of your mind,” Turco said of facing Detroit. “But
as long as we’ve had this game circled on the calendar, almost
every game is circled because of the position in the standings.
That’s the way things are going for us.”
Trudging through a rather trying season, Turco entered with a
3.41 goals-against average – a far cry from his 2.31 mark in
2007-08. But the 33-year-old shined in this one, especially
over the final 40 minutes, when he turned aside all 29 shots he
“I felt great,” Turco said. “A team that shoots the puck as
often as they do, you’ve got to be on your toes at all times.
It can make it a little bit easier out there, but all things
considered, to say we got this one certainly does feel good.”
Even with the win, Dallas – which was picked by many to contend
for the Stanley Cup this campaign – still is stuck in last place
in the West with an 11-13-4 record.
“We competed hard, had excellent goaltending and we played well
as a group,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “We defended really
well and Marty was so solid. Our defense blocked a lot of
shots, made smart plays in our end and really did well tonight.
It was a good, solid team effort and it builds a belief system
that it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we can find a way to
Making his third straight start, Ty Conklin made 21 saves and
defenseman Brett Lebda scored his second goal of the season for
the Red Wings, whose four-game winning streak came to an end.
“Every time we’ve come in here in the last few years, it’s
always a battle for first place or a Stanley Cup playoff game,”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “We knew we were going to have
a battle tonight. That’s a proud team. Turco made some real
good saves in the third period. They did a good job clogging up
the neutral zone, like we thought they would.”
Detroit opened the scoring at 6:05 of the first period, when
Lebda’s one-timer from the right faceoff circle beat Turco to
the short side.
The Stars had a golden opportunity late in the first, as they
had a two-man advantage for 1:47 but were unable to capitalize.
Dallas then claimed a one-goal lead with two tallies in a 1:40
span early in the second.
Wandell, who was just recalled from Timra IK in Sweden last week
after Sean Avery was suspended, tied the game at 5:47, when he
cut into the slot and whipped a quick backhander past Conklin.
“It was a loose puck and I did a couple of moves there and took
a shot and it went in,” Wandell said. “It was a lot of fun
tonight. I can’t really describe the feeling right now. I have
to wake up first.”
With the momentum on the Stars’ side, Brunnstrom netted his
ninth of the season at 7:27, taking a pass from Ribeiro and
rifling a wrist shot that beat Conklin between the pads for a
“I got a great pass from Ribeiro and I faked the shot first and
shot it right away,” Brunnstrom said. “It was a great pass and
it was fun to score. It was good luck.”
The Red Wings pressed throughout the final period, but Turco
made big stops on Jiri Hudler and Henrik Zetterberg before Johan
Franzen rang a backhander off the goalpost with 7:07 left.
Detroit then pulled Conklin for an extra attacker with 69
seconds remaining, but Dallas regained possession shortly
afterward and Ribeiro slid the puck into the empty net to seal
“It was a couple of mistakes. They scored two goals and we
couldn’t get the (tying) goal,” Detroit’s Marian Hossa said.
“We’ve won a lot of games in the third period when we’ve been
down. We can’t win them all, and we know that.”