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Lightning 6, Stars 3 @NHLdotcom

DALLAS (AP) - Marty Turco should have stayed on the bench.

Turco allowed four goals on six shots in an abbreviated stint, and the Tampa Bay Lightning went on to beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 on Friday night.

Brad Richards' short-handed tally triggered Tampa Bay's four-goal, first-period flurry against Turco, who was pulled at 12:35 in favor of Johan Hedberg.

Turco missed the previous game due to a groin injury, and he was removed on Friday night for the third time in six starts. Turco, who has allowed eight goals in the last 21 shots he's faced, didn't get much help from his teammates.

"We've had some bad starts, but that was our worst all season," said Turco, who refused to use the injury as an excuse. "To be unprepared like that, knowing what was coming, there's absolutely no excuse. Soft, sloppy play has been the characteristic of ourselves. We've just been getting by and pretending, and it's finally catching up with us."

Darryl Sydor, Ruslan Fedotenko and Pavel Kubina also scored in the first period for the Lightning, who handed the Stars a season-worst third consecutive loss.

The Stars had a 20-minute team meeting after the game during which coach Dave Tippett did most of the talking.

"You try to stop the bleeding," Tippett said. "You have to recognize what's happening. You have to recognize the situation and fix it. You don't fix things by talking about it. You fix things by doing it."

Ryan Craig added a goal and two assists, Vaclav Prospal had two assists, and Sean Burke stopped 26 shots for defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.

"What we've been trying to do is be a tougher team to play against," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "I thought we played a good, solid road game."

Burke came up with key third-period saves on prime scoring chances by Trevor Daley, Bill Guerin and Stu Barnes.

"We all knew they would come after us hard," Burke said.

Dmitry Afanasenkov added an empty-net goal for Tampa Bay with 1:10 left.

Niko Kapanen, Jaroslav Svoboda and Jason Arnott scored for Dallas.

The Stars recorded the game's first four shots and were on the power play when a turnover by Dallas defenseman Janne Niinimaa led to a 2-on-1 break for the Lightning. Richards' goal from the slot on Tampa Bay's first shot on net gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

"We had to come out with a different mind-set tonight, and we did that, and it really seemed to spark our confidence," Richards said.

Tampa Bay's second shot also found the back of the net as Sydor, a member of Dallas' 1999 Stanley Cup-winning team, flipped the puck toward the net from the blue line and past Turco at 7:56.

Dallas made it 2-1 at 10:15 of the opening period on Kapanen's goal, but Tampa Bay restored its two-goal lead 27 seconds later when Fedotenko scored from low in the left circle.

Kubina's power-play goal at 12:35 extended the Lightning's advantage to 4-1 and ended Turco's night amid a chorus of boos.

Tampa Bay didn't let up in the second period, and Craig made it 5-1 at 2:28.

But Dallas pulled within 5-3 on second-period goals by Svoboda and Arnott over a span of 2:08.

"When you get up 4-1 after one, it's actually tough to play like that," Richards said. "You don't have that extra desperation to get you through and they do."

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