DALLAS (AP) _ Bill Guerin took the pressure off Dallas Stars backup
goaltender Ron Tugnutt with yet another hat trick.
Guerin had his third three-goal game of the season and Tugnutt stopped 15
shots in a rare start as the Stars stretched their home unbeaten streak to 12
games with a 4-2 victory Wednesday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tugnutt was playing in his first game since Jan. 2, giving ironman Marty
Turco only his fourth game off this season.
``This is a good break for Turco, but the guys had to play well for Tugnutt,
he had to play well for the team and he did,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
Guerin reached the 30-goal mark for the fourth time and Dallas improved to
8-0-4 in its last 12 home games, the NHL's longest current streak.
``Everybody's working hard from top to bottom,'' said Guerin, who has six
goals and two assists in three games. ``And when you work hard, good things
will happen both individually and as a team.''
Turco had been threatening the league record for games played by a
goaltender in a season (79 by Grant Fuhr in 1995-96) and minutes played (4,511
by Marc Denis for the Blue Jackets last season).
Tugnutt, acquired from Columbus in a trade in June 2002, was slowed by a
knee injury earlier in the season. He spent time in the minors and has played
sparingly because of Turco's fine play.
``It's been a long time since I've had butterflies,'' said Tugnutt, playing
in his 532nd NHL game and winning for the first time since Oct. 29. ``I've
played over 500 games, and before the game tonight, I had butterflies because
of the importance of the game and the points in the standings. I just wanted to
win this game.''
Turco has already tied the franchise record for minutes in a season (3,689)
set by Ed Belfour in 2000-2001, but Tippett wants to give Turco some games off
before the playoffs.
Stu Barnes scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, and Jason
Arnott had three assists for the Stars, 5-0-1 in the first six games of a
franchise-long eight-game homestand.
Rick Nash scored his 35th and 36th goals, both on the power play, and Denis
made 32 saves. But the Blue Jackets' three-game winning streak ended and Nash
shrugged off the accomplishment.
``It's been like that all season,'' said Nash, who broke the record for the
most goals in a season in the four-year history of the Blue Jackets. ``It's
just the same old stuff, different date.''
Columbus capitalized on the game's first power play at 14:16 of the first
period. The puck glanced off the stick of Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher to
Nash, who beat Tugnutt from close range.
Guerin tied it at 1 with 23.7 seconds left in the opening period on a
slower-than-expected shot from the right circle.
``You've got Bill Guerin bearing down on you for a one-timer, you expect a
105-mph slapper top shelf, and he throws you the offspeed shot that knuckles
and changes direction,'' Denis said.
Barnes gave the Stars a 2-1 lead at 5:29 of the second period with the help
of a turnover by Blue Jackets defenseman Aaron Johnson. Dallas' Rob DiMaio took
possession, passing in front to Barnes, who scored his 10th goal.
Guerin extended Dallas' lead to 3-1 at 10:33 of the second period, then
completed his sixth career hat trick with 19:35 remaining.
Nash scored his second of the game with 2:05 left.