Marty Turco put on an acrobatic show in goal and the Stars' power play provided all the scoring as they put the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks in an early playoff hole with a 4-0 victory Thursday night.
"For me, getting the shutout means little," Turco said after stopping 23 shots in the playoff opener. "It's always been about how I play and how I am moving and my patience.
"It was there tonight at times. There were a couple of fortunate tips that hit me that I didn't see."
With his teammates playing solid defense in front of him, Turco earned his fourth career postseason shutout.Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson had first-period goals, and Jere Lehtinen and Brendan Morrow added scores in the second for the Stars, who ended a six-game losing streak in Game 1s and took an opening game for just the second time in their last 10 tries.
They have been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round each of the past three years.
"I can't remember the last time we have won a Game 1, so it was huge," Morrow said. "The way we finished the year off and to come out and have everyone contribute and play their roles was huge for us and gave us a little confidence."
Morrow, who along with Mike Ribeiro chipped in with a pair of assists apiece, said the Stars couldn't have drawn the game up any better.
"We stayed disciplined. We kind of weathered the storm in the beginning and took advantage of the power play," he said. "That was the difference."
The Ducks' usual strong suits, their veteran defense and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, were vulnerable. Giguere faced 37 shots.
Anaheim's offense also lacked spark after the Stars took the early 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 four of seven power-play opportunities. The Ducks, who had three power plays, drew 11 penalties to the Stars' seven.
After the game, the theme in the Anaheim locker room seemed to be "play smarter."
"Yeah, we want to play on edge, finish checks and be physical, but we have to be smart," Giguere said, alluding to the number of Dallas power plays. "And we need to get guys in front; they're a team that can pass.
"Mentally, I guess we weren't ready."
Teemu Selanne shook his head and said, "We took too many stupid penalties."
Giguere thought the Ducks had the momentum until Ott scored, then seemed to let down.
"There are going to be goals against," Giguere said. "But we've got to keep our heads up."
Turco 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.
"That's Marty Turco, that's how he's been all year," Ribeiro said. "He plays unbelievable for us and he always gives us a chance to win. Sometimes people don't realize those big saves - if they go in, it changes the whole momentum."
Ott started the Stars rolling 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.
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 into the net.
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.
|PPG - Steve Ott (1) ASST: Stephane Robidas (1), Brenden Morrow (1)|
1 - 0 DAL
|PPG - Loui Eriksson (1) ASST: Brad Richards (1), Stephane Robidas (2)|
2 - 0 DAL
|PPG - Jere Lehtinen (1) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (1), Brenden Morrow (2)|
3 - 0 DAL
|PPG - Brenden Morrow (1) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (2), Jere Lehtinen (1)|
4 - 0 DAL
|Power Play %||19.0%||15.7%|
|% on Road||23.3%||15.4%|
|% at Home||15.5%||16.1%|
|Mike Modano Interference against Bobby Ryan|
|Travis Moen Elbowing against Matt Niskanen|
|Brian Sutherby Cross checking against Trevor Daley|
|Todd Bertuzzi Roughing against Philippe Boucher|
|Teemu Selanne Roughing against Philippe Boucher|
|Steve Ott Roughing against Mathieu Schneider|
|Mathieu Schneider Roughing against Philippe Boucher|
|Philippe Boucher Roughing against Teemu Selanne|
|Ryan Getzlaf Roughing against Mattias Norstrom|
|Mathieu Schneider Interference against Joel Lundqvist|
|Mike Ribeiro Interference against Todd Marchant|
|Philippe Boucher Tripping against Todd Bertuzzi|
|Steve Ott Roughing against Todd Bertuzzi|
|Todd Bertuzzi Roughing against Steve Ott|
|Francois Beauchemin Hi-sticking against Niklas Hagman|
|Kent Huskins Broken stick|
|Chris Kunitz Roughing against Niklas Hagman|
|Niklas Hagman Roughing against Chris Kunitz|