ANAHEIM, Calif. – Marty Turco put on an acrobatic show in goal and the Dallas Stars’ power play provided more than enough offence to put the defending Stanley Cup Champions in an early playoff hole.
Turco earned his fourth career post-season shutout and Dallas defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Thursday night. Game 2 is Saturday night in Anaheim.
Turco made 23 saves, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson had first-period power-play goals, and Jere Lehtinen and Brendan Morrow added power-play scores in the second for the Stars, who have been eliminated in the opening round for each of the past three years.
Morrow also had two assists, as did Mike Ribeiro.
The Ducks’ usual strong suits, their veteran defence and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, were vulnerable, Giguere faced 37 shots.
Anaheim’s offence also lacked spark after the Stars took the early 2-0 lead. The Ducks went a stretch of almost 20 minutes, beginning midway through the first period to about the same mark in the second, without getting off a shot.
Anaheim, the NHL’s most penalized team this season, also hurt itself with penalties, with the Stars cashing in on power-play opportunities. The Ducks drew 11 penalties to the Stars’ seven.
Turco, meanwhile, did a fine job with traffic in front of him. During a frantic few seconds of an Anaheim power play in the second period, with a crowd in the crease, he first swatted the puck away, then went down on his back and kicked at it, and finally rolled over on his stomach and blocked another try.
Ott started the Stars rolling when he scored at 11:25 of the opening period. Stephane Robidas, battling a Ducks defender on the right boards, wristed a shot that Ott, near the goal line, redirected past Giguere on the glove side.
The score came on Dallas’ first power play of the game, with Travis Moen off for elbowing.
Eriksson scored his first career playoff goal at 17:34 of the period, with the help of some picture-perfect passing. Robidas made a crisp pass to Brad Richards in the left circle and Richards passed up a shot to slide the puck across to Eriksson, who was slicing across the top of the right circle.
Eriksson one-timed the shot past Giguere on the stick side.
On Dallas’ third goal, Ribeiro, from behind the net, fed the unguarded Lehtinen and he snapped a wrist shot over Giguere’s right shoulder.
Morrow made it 4-0 when Ribeiro, just across the goal line near the right post, slid the puck across the crease and Morrow was able to get his stick beyond the defenders and push the puck past Giguere.
Notes: The Stars took the regular-season series against the Ducks 5-3, and earned a shootout point in one of the losses. The Ducks, though, won the final two meetings. … Dallas was good on the road this season, going 22-14-5 and scoring a West-high 118 goals away from home. … Turco is coming off his fifth consecutive 30-win regular season, second behind only Martin Brodeur’s 12 straight seasons with 30 or more wins.