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Dallas Stars vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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GAME: Dallas Stars (35-22-11-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (15-44-6-4).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

It took more than 60 games, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are finally playing with purpose.

The league-worst Penguins will try for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they host the Dallas Stars.

The Penguins beat the New York Rangers 7-4 on Sunday for their first consecutive victories since Dec. 13-16. Pittsburgh has lost just twice in its last seven overall (4-2-1).

"We've got a winning streak. We're happy about that," said defenseman Dick Tarnstrom, who had a goal in the Penguins' highest-scoring game of the season.

"It's awesome," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin added. "It's fun to come to the rink and it's totally different."

Pittsburgh is suffering through its worst season since finishing the 1984-85 campaign 24-51-5. The Penguins have set a league record by losing 14 straight at home and went 18 games overall without a win from Jan. 13-Feb. 22.

"I think it was building even when we went through that tough streak," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. "Unfortunately for us, in those games we weren't winning. As of late, we're playing a lot better and the guys are getting rewarded."

Dallas will be looking to build off a 7-0-1 homestand, including a 4-0 victory over San Jose on Sunday. The Stars, who have won five of their last eight on the road (5-3), are now just two points behind the first-place Sharks in the Pacific Division and are fifth overall in the Western Conference.

Marty Turco made 22 saves for his 19th career shutout in his career-high 32nd victory.

The Stars bolstered their defense on Monday, acquiring Chris Therien from Philadelphia for a pair of draft picks. Therein, who had spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the Flyers, has 29 goals, 126 assists and 549 penalty minutes in 706 career games.

The Penguins also made a move on Monday, sending gritty forward Steve Webb to the New York Islanders for defenseman Alain Nasreddine.

Nasreddine has no points and 54 penalty minutes in 18 NHL games with Chicago, Montreal and the Islanders.

STANDINGS: Stars - 81 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division. Penguins - 40 points, 5th place, 48 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Bill Guerin, 30 goals and 56 points; Sergei Zubov, 33 assists; Steve Ott, 146 PIM. Penguins - Ryan Malone, 21 goals; Tarnstrom, 28 assists and 41 points; Brooks Orpik, 115 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 7): Stars - Power play: 17.2 percent (47 for 274), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (220 for 257), 4th. Penguins - Power play: 15.5 percent (48 for 310), 20th. Penalty killing: 75.6 percent (239 for 316), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Stars - Turco (32-19-11, 7 SO, 2.00 GAA); Ron Tugnutt (2-3-0, 2.43). Penguins - Andy Chiodo (3-4-1, 0, 3.46); Aubin (3-8-0, 3.31).

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

LAST MEETING: March 2, 2003; Stars, 3-1. At Dallas, Jason Arnott had two goals and Jere Lehtinen scored in his fourth straight game for the Stars, who played without Guerin, Turco and Brenden Morrow due to injuries.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 12-16-4-0 on the road; Penguins - 8-22-4-0 at home.


Associated Press
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