CALGARY - Fabian Brunnstrom's breakaway goal at 7:53 of the second period stood up as the game-winner Tuesday night as the Dallas Stars beat the Calgary Flames 3-1.
Brunnstrom was sent in alone after collecting a long Trevor Daley pass. His initial shot was stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff, but the Stars rookie was able to reach across and with one hand on his stick get just enough of the rebound to swat the bouncing puck over the goal-line.
It would be all the offence that goaltender Marty Turco would need as the struggling veteran played one of his best games of the season, making 36 saves. It was just the third time all season and second time since Oct. 20 that Turco has held the opposition to less than two goals.
The 33-year-old Turco, making his 13th straight start, had yielded 15 goals on 100 shots in his previous four games.
Turco was at his best in the third period, making 15 saves as Calgary pressed but couldn't get the equalizer.
Loui Eriksson clinched the victory with an empty net goal with 15 seconds left.
Toby Petersen also scored for Dallas (9-11-4). The victory enabled the Stars to climb out of sole possession of last place in the Western Conference and pull even with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues.
David Moss scored the lone goal for Calgary (14-10-1). The Flames blew a chance to move past idle Vancouver into first place in the Northwest Division. Calgary had entered the night having won five of its previous six.
After all the off-ice controversy earlier in the day, the game itself had an anti-climactic feel to it, especially in the absence of the day's central figure, Dallas agitator Sean Avery.
Avery was suspended indefinitely by the NHL prior to the game for conduct "detrimental to the League or game of hockey" after the outspoken forward made disparaging comments to the national media about Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf after the Star's morning skate.
Phaneuf is dating actress Elisha Cuthbert, one of Avery's ex-girlfriends. After his afternoon's antics, the Stars' penalty minute leader was immediately sent home by the team. The result was a quiet night, with only five minor penalties called.
Dallas wraps up its mini two-game road trip Wednesday night in Edmonton, without Avery.
Dallas got on the scoreboard first at 6:14. Stephane Robidas had his shot kicked out by Kiprusoff but the rebound into the slot landed right on the stick of Petersen who rapped it in the open side.
After a lethargic start, Calgary finally generated some excitement for the sell-out crowd of 19,289 in the final minute of the first period.
In a flurry of pressure brought on by a delayed penalty to the Stars, defenceman Adrian Aucoin had two great chances to score. First, Jarome Iginla set him up in front only to have his shot from 10 feet out turned aside by Turco. Seconds later, Aucoin ended up with the puck again in the low slot, this time missing the net from 15 feet out.
The Flames would break through on the subsequent power-play, tying the game at 1:44 of the second period.
Aucoin again initiated the play with a shot on goal, but this time the rebound was jammed in by Moss. The goal came one second after the man-advantage expired.
One positive for the Flames was the continued effectiveness of its penalty killing. Calgary went 4-4 on the penalty kill and has now perfect over the past seven games, having killed off 19 disadvantages over that span.
Notes: With no extra healthy forwards available, the Avery suspension forced Dallas to play seven defencemen with D Doug Jannik moving up to play on the fourth line. Seeing his first action as a Star since being acquired Sunday in a trade with Tampa Bay was D Andrew Hutchinson... Dallas has picked up points in 17 of its last 21 games versus Calgary ... The Flames upcoming four-game road trip will be their only trip longer then two games until mid-February. The only trip longer is a 7-game game trip in March... A couple Flames saw their point streaks come to an end. Iginla's streak ended at six games (2 goals, 6 assists) while Curtis Glencross was blanked for the first time in five games (3 goals, 4 assists).