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Turco slashes Canucks

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Being Friday the 13th and with a new horror flick in theatres, it’s only natural that thoughts of Jason Voorhees, the goalie-mask wearing slasher, are on some people’s minds.

He’s a scary dude, there’s no way around that, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the man who haunts the Vancouver Canucks.

Marty Turco is the masked villain they fear, he seems to be a one-man wrecking ball when playing the Canucks and he put forth one of his best performances of the season in a 2-1 Dallas win over Vancouver on Friday night.

If you’re surprised Turco played well, you shouldn’t be. Facing the Canucks, and every Canadian team for that matter, seems to be something Marty McFly thrives on.

Turco sported a 16-4-1 record with a sizzling 1.75 goals against average and an outlandish .932 save percentage in 21 career games against the Canucks heading into to this tilt, a game that the netminder took over down the stretch.

Early on in this affair, Vancouver’s third game in four nights, it looked as though this wouldn’t be Turco’s night.

Just over five minutes into the opening frame Taylor Pyatt flew into the Dallas zone down the right wing on a 2-on-1 with Kyle Wellwood. Stars defenceman Andrew Hutchinson didn’t budge either way so Pyatt went right at Turco, wristing a laser to the back of the net.

“It looked like he kind of went down a little early and I just tried to snap it quick and I was able to beat him on the blocker side,” explained Pyatt, who now has seven goals this season.

It was a hot start for the Canucks, a team trying to avoid having to comeback to win, but on this night that was the lone goal Turco would surrender.

Giving credit to opposing players is akin to thanking a policeman for a ticket, yet there’s no disputing Turco was dominant against the Canucks.

Less than two minutes after Pyatt’s goal, Vancouver was on the power play looking for more. Daniel Sedin got the puck in front of the Dallas goal and labeled a shot top shelf only to have Turco flash the leather.

That was a frustrating preview of what was to come.

Before the final gong Turco stopped two sure goals from Kyle Wellwood and Alex Burrows and made three game-saving stops on Daniel Sedin to help the Stars leapfrog the Canucks in the standings.

“We had some grade-A chances and for some reason we just couldn’t get them in,” said Burrows, who had three shots on goal in 17:26 of ice time.

“We hit a few posts and Marty made some really good saves on other ones; same for us, they had some chances too and Jason made some big saves, but down the stretch it would have been nice to get a lucky bounce going our way.”

Jason LaBarbera gave Roberto Luongo the night off and he was sensational in his first start in a month. He stopped 28 of 30 Dallas shots and gave Vancouver life when the Stars were pressing for the insurance goal; the only thing LaBarbera didn’t do was help out where the Canucks needed it most, on the scoresheet.

If Vancouver fans weren’t already up in arms with Turco’s play, the fact that he collected his 17th career assist on Joel Lundqvist’s game-winning goal is sure to grind some gears.

It isn’t just against the Canucks that Turco delivers though, since the 2002-03 season, the masked rapscallion has compiled a mind-boggling 51-14-4 record against Canadian teams.

Hate is a strong word, but fans across Canada certainly aren't fond of the netminder, to say the least.

“At least I am Canadian so hopefully they don’t hate me,” laughed Turco, who turned aside 32 shots on the night.

“If they do there’s a small town in Ontario that can appreciate me, and that’s enough.

“It’s been fun playing against Canadian teams, I’ve always cherished the moment.”

If not for the sensational play of Turco and a few rough bounces, this game had fifth consecutive Canucks win written all over it.

Vancouver blazed out of the gates with a goal and they also set the physical tempo for a rugged playoff-type game.

The second period was much of the same until the Canucks ran into penalty trouble and the Stars took advantage.

The final 20 minutes was Turco time and the ending was sour for Vancouver.

Meatloaf may have believed that two out of three ain't bad, but the Canucks don’t.

“We really wanted this game and we wanted to make this road trip a great one and we wanted these two points,” said a frustrated Burrows.

“We know the race is tight for the playoff spots right now, so we just have to keep going.”

The Canucks finish their three-game road trip with a 2-1 record to put them seventh in the Western Conference.

7 – Goals for Taylor Pyatt this season

17-4-1 – Marty Turco's career record against Vancouver

28 – Saves for Jason LaBarbera

32 – Saves for Marty Turco, 13 in third period

51-14-4 - Turco's record against Canadian teams since 2002-03

You'd need a lot of fingers and toes to add up all the chances the Canucks failed to convert on in this game.

Vancouver had numerous golden opportunities to take a stranglehold on Dallas, or to come back and tie the game, but a lack of puck luck and the stellar play of Marty Turco kept the Canucks at bay.

Taylor Pyatt was the lone Canuck to bulge the twine; Steve Bernier and Shane O'Brien assisted on his goal.

Vancouver outshot Dallas 33-30.

This was a well executed game by the defence from start to finish.

The last line of defence also played very good as Jason LaBarbera kept the Stars from exploding onto the scoreboard.

The boys on the backend dished out 15 punishing hits, led by Willie Mitchell who had eight.

With only four penalties against, the Canucks were a disciplined bunch, but not giving the Stars any man advantages would have been ideal.

Vancouver's penalty kill is hapless these days as the unit allowed Dallas one power play goal on four attempts; the Canucks have surrendered a PP goal in 14 of their last 15 outings.

The Canucks, surpisingly, failed to convert on any of their power play chances going 0-for-4 with seven shots.
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