GAME: Dallas Stars (40-25-13-2) at Minnesota Wild (28-29-20-3).
TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. EST.
Marty Turco's value to the Dallas Stars has been more apparent than ever
The slumping Stars, hoping to move up to fourth place in the Western
Conference, will play their final game without Turco when they visit the
Turco, a strong candidate to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the
league's top goalie, was suspended four games for a high-sticking incident
against Edmonton's Ryan Smyth on March 24.
Though backup Ron Tugnutt has not played badly, the Stars have lost the
first three games of Turco's suspension. Tugnutt will start Friday before Turco
returns for the regular-season finale against Chicago on Sunday.
Smyth scored a tiebreaking power-play goal in the second period Wednesday to
lead the Oilers to a 3-1 victory, their first in Dallas since Jan. 17, 1996.
The loss ended the Stars' franchise-record home unbeaten streak at 17 games
(13-0-4) and prevented them from moving into a tie with Colorado for fourth in
the West. The top four teams are guaranteed home-ice in the opening round of
"We played a desperate team and that desperation factor was the difference
in the game," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "The urgency just wasn't
Dallas was also without several top players Wednesday. Missing from the
lineup were centers Jason Arnott and Stu Barnes, right wings Rob DiMaio, Scott
Young and Jere Lehtinen and defensemen Sergei Zubov and Jon Klemm.
"We need those hurt guys back," Dallas' Pierre Turgeon said. "They're a
big part of our team and it showed tonight."
Stars defenseman Teppo Numminen did return to the lineup Wednesday. Numminen
played almost 22 minutes after missing five games with a heart problem.
Despite having no chance at the playoffs, the Wild have done well as
spoilers. They completed March with a 7-4-3-1 record following a 5-4 overtime
victory against visiting Colorado on Wednesday.
"We probably won because we were confident through the whole game,"
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "There was a lot of excitement on the
bench in overtime. We just needed a break, and that's what we got."
Marc Chouinard's second goal of the game 53 seconds into the extra period
gave the Wild their first overtime win since beating Colorado in Game 7 of the
conference quarterfinals last season.
Minnesota's Dwayne Roloson could become the first goalie since Toronto's
Harry Lumley in 1954-55 to make 40 starts, have a goals-against average below
2.00 and finish with a losing record. Roloson, 18-18-11 with a 1.92 GAA, is
expected to start one of the Wild's final two games.
STANDINGS: Stars - 95 points, 2nd place, 7 PB, Pacific Division. Wild - 79
points, 5th place, 18 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Bill Guerin, 33 goals and 66 points; Arnott, 36
assists; Steve Ott, 152 PIM. Wild - Alexandre Daigle, 20 goals and 50 points;
Andrew Brunette, 33 assists; Matt Johnson, 175 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 31): Stars - Power play: 15.6 percent (50 for
321), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.1 percent (261 for 303), 3rd. Wild -
Power play: 13.3 percent (44 for 330), 28th. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (234
for 278), 16th.
GOALTENDERS: Stars - Tugnutt (3-6-0, 1 SO, 2.20 GAA); Jason Bacashihua (no
appearances). Wild - Roloson (18-18-11, 4, 1.92); Manny Fernandez (10-14-9, 2,
SEASON SERIES: Stars, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 27; Stars, 3-1. At Dallas, Barnes snapped a tie with a
short-handed goal midway through the third period, and Turco stopped 18 shots
as Dallas extended its home unbeaten streak to 10.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 15-18-5-2 on the road; Wild - 17-13-7-2 at home.