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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (20-42-11-8) at Dallas Stars (40-26-13-2).

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EDT.

Having paid his debt to the NHL, Marty Turco will next try to help the Dallas Stars wrap up the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

Fresh off serving his four-game suspension for a slashing incident, Turco is expected to be back in goal as the struggling Stars conclude the regular season against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

The Stars lead Calgary by one point in the West. A win will give Dallas the fifth seed and a first-round playoff date with No. 4 Colorado.

If the Stars and Flames finish tied, Calgary will get the fifth seed on a tiebreaker. The Flames close the season at Anaheim on Sunday.

The sixth seed will face Northwest Division champion Vancouver.

"Sunday, I'd like to see us step up and play well," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Turco will be eligible and it looks like we may get some other players back, so (Saturday) and Sunday are very important for our team process in getting where we want to be going into the first game of the playoffs."

Dallas is 0-2-0-2 since Turco was suspended four games for slashing Edmonton's Ryan Smyth on March 24. The Stars had been unbeaten in their previous six (5-0-1).

Turco is ranked second in the league with 36 wins, to go along with a stellar 1.98 goals-against average and nine shutouts.

"This is the wrong time of the year to be (slumping)," backup Ron Tugnutt said. "We can look at the injuries and Marty's suspension, but at the end of the day we just didn't get the job done at all."

The Stars missed Turco on Saturday as they suffered a 4-2 loss to Minnesota.

Rob DiMaio scored twice in the second period for Dallas, which was also missing injured forwards Jason Arnott, Stu Barnes, Scott Young and Jere Lehtinen, as well as defensemen Sergei Zubov and Jon Klemm.

Chicago would like to end its disappointing season on a high note. The Blackhawks are winless in their last eight (0-4-2-2).

Chicago guaranteed itself the lowest win total in the NHL after losing 2-1 in overtime to Phoenix on Saturday. Rookie Tuomo Ruutu scored his 23rd goal for the Blackhawks.

STANDINGS: Blackhawks - 59 points, 5th place, 50 PB, Central Division. Stars - 95 points, 2nd place, 7 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Tyler Arnason and Ruutu, 22 goals; Bryan Berard, 33 assists; Arnason, 54 points; Scott Nichol, 139 PIM. Stars - Bill Guerin, 33 goals and 66 points; Arnott, 36 assists; Steve Ott, 152 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Blackhawks - Power play: 15.7 percent (54 for 345), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (316 for 376), 16th. Stars - Power play: 15.4 percent (50 for 325), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (265 for 308), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Jocelyn Thibault (5-6-2, 1 SO, 2.68 GAA); Adam Munro (1-4-1, 0, 3.97). Stars - Turco (36-21-13, 9, 1.98); Tugnutt (3-7-0, 1, 2.41).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: March 14; Stars, 4-0. At Chicago, Tugnutt stopped 26 shots for his first shutout of the season and 26th of his career to lead Dallas. Pierre Turgeon and Jere Lehtinen each had a goal and assist for the Stars.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 7-25-5-3 on the road; Stars - 25-7-8-0 at home.

Associated Press
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