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The Eagle Back In Big "D"

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (1-2-2-0) at Dallas Stars (4-2-0-0).

TIME: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EDT.

Before getting his chance to start for Dallas, Marty Turco spent two seasons watching Eddie Belfour anchor the Stars.

This is the second meeting between the two, but now Turco has to be considered the superior goaltender as the Stars face the Toronto Maple Leafs.

While Turco led Dallas to a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Nov. 8, 2002 in his first matchup against Belfour, the game was only the Stars' 15th of last season.

At that point, Turco was 6-2-2-1 and had allowed 22 goals in 11 games. He went on to lose only eight games all season as he set a modern-day NHL record with a 1.72 goals-against average. Turco also made the All-Star team and finished with a 31-10-10 record, a league-best .932 save percentage and seven shutouts.

"It's tough to come out of the gate in your first year as starting goalie and put up those types of numbers," Stars captain Mike Modano said. "Anything less, people are going to be wondering what's wrong with Marty. But you just can't copy those type of years."

Turco, however, has picked up where he left off last season with a 4-2 record and a 1.78 GAA.

Belfour has gotten off to a shaky start in his second season with Toronto, winning only one of his five starts while posting a 2.64 GAA. He went 37-20-5 with seven shutouts and a 2.26 GAA last season.

Turco leads what has been an outstanding defensive unit for the Stars, coming off possibly its best effort of the season.

Dallas held Minnesota to three shots through two periods and 11 overall in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Wild.

It was the third time this season the Stars allowed one goal and the fifth time they gave up two or fewer. At one point, the Stars did not allow a shot on goal for 25 minutes.

Dallas' defensive play through six games has exceeded expectations following the loss of veteran defensemen Derian Hatcher and Darryl Sydor during the offseason.

"Everyone is giving extra effort, the edge that we need," said center Jason Arnott, who had two assists. "We still have a solid defensive team."

Belfour shut out Montreal 1-0 on Saturday to give the Leafs their first win of the season, but followed that with a poor outing Monday in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

The 15-year veteran stopped five of nine shots before being replaced by Mikael Tellqvist with 2:57 remaining in the second period.

"We just had too many guys with off nights tonight," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "It looked like we didn't want the puck a lot of times."

With three games over the next four days, Toronto's offense needs to break loose after scoring only seven goals in five games.

"We're too easy to play against right now," Quinn added.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 20): Maple Leafs - 4 points, 4th place (tied), 4 PB, Northeast Division. Stars - 8 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Nik Antropov, 2 goals; Ric Jackman and Tomas Kaberle, 2 assists; Jackman, 3 points; Tie Domi, 11 PIM. Stars - Stu Barnes, 5 goals; Sergei Zubov and Brenden Morrow, 5 assists; Zubov, 6 points; Bill Guerin, 21 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 20): Maple Leafs - Power play: 10 percent (2 for 20), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (14 for 17), 16th (tied). Stars - Power play: 17.6 percent (6 for 34), 14th. Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (26 for 30), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (1-2-2, 1 SO, 2.64 GAA); Tellqvist (0-0-0, 0, 1.62). Stars - Turco (4-2-0, 0, 1.78); Ron Tugnutt (0-0-0, 0, 0.00).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Stars, 1-0-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 8, 2002; Stars, 2-1. At Dallas, Turco stopped 22 shots and the Stars got goals from Pierre Turgeon and Jason Arnott.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 1-1-1-0 on the road; Stars - 3-1-0-0 at home.

-- Associated Press

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