Turco made 20 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, leading Dallas past the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Thursday night a night after things got so bad the team held a closed-door meeting. Turco, who also added a rare goalie assist on Jokinen’s ninth goal, established a franchise record with his 28th career shutout. He blanked San Jose for the second time this season after he made 25 saves against the Sharks on Dec. 4.
“Any time you reach a milestone or record of any sort, it’s something to look back on after your career is over,” Turco said. “We played so well, the franchise record feels so insignificant.”
Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen and Brenden Morrow each scored goals as Dallas improved to 12-2 against the Pacific Division – with one of those defeats coming to the Sharks on Oct. 17.
It was the third meeting of the season and third shutout between the teams, who each won on their home ice with shutouts. The Sharks and Stars are two of the NHL’s top defensive franchises, both among the top three in the league for fewest goals allowed this season entering the game.
San Jose, playing for the first time in five days, had won four of its last five but looked flat on both ends.
“I have no idea why,” coach Ron Wilson said. “For the first five minutes I was feeling pretty good. We had our legs. We were skating. We hadn’t taken a shot but we were flying around. As soon as they scored the first goal, we lost the will to battle. At home that is very disappointing.”
Dallas appeared to have more energy despite playing on back-to-back nights after losing 4-1 at Anaheim on Wednesday. The Stars bounced back with an impressive win after losing three of their previous four, having given up 15 goals during that span – a stretch that sparked the post-game meeting after losing to the Ducks.
“From doom and gloom last night, we end up with five or six points and go home with some momentum,” coach Dave Tippett said. “They came out and put the words into action.”
Mike Modano missed his eighth straight game with a hip injury sustained against the Sharks on Dec. 4, when he had the only goal of the contest. Modano did not travel with the team for this three-game road trip that ended before a disappointed sellout crowd in the Shark Tank.
Halpern put the Stars on the board with his fourth goal of the season 6:56 into the game when got the rebound after a long shot by Philippe Boucher bounced off defenceman Kyle McLaren’s stick. Halpern shot into an open net after goalie Vesa Toskala got screened by McLaren. Boucher got the assist and he has recorded points in nine of his last 11 games.
Jokinen, a shootout expert, scored on a one-on-one in which he skated behind McLaren and backhanded the puck past Toskala’s right shoulder.
San Jose, coming off an emotional win against the Mighty Ducks on Dec. 16, had its chance to rally in the third period thwarted.
“I don’t know what it was,” Joe Thornton said. “We didn’t seem to have the sense of urgency we had against Anaheim. … He’s a good goalie and he saw every shot tonight. By the third, they’re up 2-0 and they’re a good enough team to close it out.”
Christian Ehrhoff’s attempt hit Turco’s pads and the Sharks also missed the rebound when it hit the far post. They also had a near power-play goal about a minute later that Turco covered.
Morrow picked up a bad pass and sent the puck to Trevor Daley, whose shot bounced the behind the net. Morrow recovered and flicked it in off Toskala’s pad with 7:43 to play for his 10th goal.
Toskala made 23 saves in his first appearance against Dallas this season after Evgeni Nabokov started in goal for the first two meetings.
Notes: Dallas is 8-0-0 when Morrow has scored a goal this season. … The Sharks reassigned G Dimitri Patzold to their AHL affiliate in Worcester, Mass. … Stars forward Jere Lehtinen returned to the ice after missing Wednesday’s game with the flu. … Dallas’ Stu Barnes had his two-game goal streak snapped. … Thornton’s stretch of six straight contests with an assist ended for San Jose.