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Miettinen, Morrow, Ribeiro send Stars past Canadiens, 4-1

DALLAS - Bragging rights were at stake in the matchup between the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens, two teams that share plenty of recent history.

This time, Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow and the Stars came out on top.

Linemates Ribeiro, Morrow and Antti Miettinen scored goals in the 4-1 victory over the Canadiens on Sunday night.

Stu Barnes added a goal, and Ribeiro also had two assists in his first game against his former team to help the Stars improve to 6-1 in their last seven games.

Ribeiro, a Montreal native, was traded by the Canadiens to the Stars prior to the 2006-07 season and has developed into Dallas' top scorer with 39 points this season.

"I was very anxious to play this game," Ribeiro said. "We had a good start and it went from there. (His teammates) expected a lot out of me and it was a big challenge."

The game also marked the return of Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau, who played five seasons for the Stars and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1999.

Carbonneau said his team's effort was lacking from the opening faceoff, not what was expected by owner George Gillett, who along with Stars owner Tom Hicks owns Liverpool of the English Premier League.

"I'm really disappointed for everything it meant to a lot of people," Carbonneau said. "We talked about it before the game. I can accept losing when you show up and give the effort, but tonight there was only a little bit of that."

Carbonneau is the father-in-law of Morrow, the Stars' captain. Carbonneau was set to remain in Dallas after the game to spend a few days during the holidays with daughter Anne-Marie, Morrow and their daughter before the Canadiens resume their six-game trip Thursday night at Tampa Bay.

"It was strange," Carbonneau said of coaching against his son-in-law. "But once the game starts, the emotion goes away. I know I'll hear about it (from Morrow) for the next few days."

Said Morrow: "I'm sorry to ruin Carbo's Christmas but I didn't want to let him ruin ours."

Former Stars general manager Bob Gainey, who assembled the 1999 Stanley Cup winners, also was in attendance. Gainey is executive vice president and general manager of the Canadiens, the team he helped lead to five Stanley Cups as a player.

In addition, Montreal assistant coaches Doug Jarvis and Kirk Muller have ties to the Stars. Jarvis was an assistant in Dallas for 14 seasons and Muller is a former Stars player.

The Ribeiro line continues to click for Dallas. In the nine games they have skated as a line this season, Miettinen, Morrow and Ribeiro have either scored or assisted on 20 of Dallas' 30 goals.

The Stars were opening a four-game homestand after winning three times during a four-game Western Conference trip, and they came out with good energy.

"You have to give the guys a lot of credit coming off a long road trip, coming home and getting the win, led by Ribeiro," coach Dave Tippett said. "There were a lot of sub-plots in this game."

Marty Turco stopped 17 shots for Dallas, missing his 32nd career shutout when Andrei Markov got his ninth of the season at 13:35 of the final period.

Montreal, 3-1-2 in its previous six games, lost a 3-2 shootout at Atlanta on Saturday night, and the Canadiens found themselves in an early 2-0 hole against Dallas.

Miettinen gave the Stars the lead at 7:39 of the opening period when he lifted a rebound over fallen goalie Carey Price for Miettinen's seventh goal of the season.

Morrow added his 13th off Ribeiro's setup at 11:32 of the first period to stretch the advantage to 2-0.

"It seems we have too many of these games where we don't win the battles on the boards," Montreal's Chris Higgins said. "They were just the hungrier team. Our passes were terrible tonight. We don't have focus. Instead of firing away like the puck is a hand grenade, make the right play and take the hit.

"With the history between these two teams, there was a lot going on. You'd think we'd come with a very strong game but that wasn't the case."

Ribeiro scored his 19th on a breakaway at 1:10 of the final period, and Barnes added his second of the season on a blast from the right circle at 3:11.

Notes: The teams played in Dallas for the first time since Dec. 31, 2003, a 1-1 tie. Dallas played at Montreal on Jan. 16, 2006, a 4-1 victory by the Canadiens. ... C Bryan Smolinski (knee) and C Steve Begin (shoulder) are out for Montreal. ... D Mattias Norstrom (lower body injury) was among the Dallas scratches. ... Stars C Mike Modano went to the locker room early in the opening period for treatment after getting hit in the leg with a puck, but Modano was back on the ice later in the period. ... A few of Carbonneau's highlights from his playing days with the Stars were shown on the big screen during the first intermission. ... Ribeiro and teammate Jeff Halpern both had their 250th career points.


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