COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Caught up in the heat of a playoff race, the Dallas Stars had forgotten how much fun it can be to win.
Sergei Zubov, Niklas Hagman and Mike Ribeiro scored goals and Marty Turco posted his 29th career shutout to lead the Stars past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 on Friday night. During the second intermission, the Stars talked about what it would take to get back in gear after losing their past four games.
"Just to keep working and have fun," Ribeiro said. "Lately, we've been maybe stressed out a little bit and not scoring that much.
"And we've tried to overdo it. (Tonight) we tried to simplify our game and work hard."
Turco, who has been sharing time with Mike Smith, had 30 saves in picking up his fifth shutout of the season.
"It's the best I've felt in a while. I'm pretty sure it's going to be there to stay," Turco said. "There's a lot of instances in games where early action seems to get you into the game and into a rhythm. That was the case tonight."
It was the 14th time Columbus, which had won its past three games, has been shut out this season, extending a club record.
"You can say he (Turco) was great - and he was - but you have to find a way to outwork the goalie," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's a challenge you have to meet."
Zubov also had an assist and Philippe Boucher had two assists for the Stars, who improved to 18-3-2 against Columbus.
Dallas began the night tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We got challenged by the coaching staff," Boucher said. "We realized that our backs were a little bit against the wall, and it's time to wake up.
"You have to realize there's no time for that and that you have to bring your 'A' game every night. This was pretty close to our 'A' game."
The Stars led 1-0 through two periods - but could have led by three or four goals after a wild, minute-long flurry. They peppered goaltender Fredrik Norrena, at one point getting 11 shots without an answer from the Blue Jackets.
Just before that, Dallas broke through on the power play midway through the second period. Ladislav Nagy faked a slapshot and then passed across the ice to Zubov for a hard shot from the left slot. Norrena never had a chance.
In the final minute of the period, Fredrik Modin appeared headed for his 200th career NHL goal when he ended up with the puck in the offensive zone with no one between him and Turco. Modin skated in, faked a backhand and then tried a wrist shot that Turco, recovering quickly from the fake, was able to deflect high and wide.
"He's played a lot of games and has had a great deal of success," coach Dave Tippett said of Turco. "It's great to see him hit that mark again and hopefully we get a lot more from him to the end of this season.
"He was excellent."
Hagman made it 2-0 in the third. From the right boards, Jussi Jokinen flicked the puck ahead to Jere Lehtinen, who fired a pass from the top of the right circle to Hagman, who was alone at the left edge of the goal.
Ribeiro then scored on a deflection of a pass from Boucher.
"Those teams that aren't making the playoffs are hard to play against," Ribeiro said of the Blue Jackets. "They are teams that are getting better as the season goes on, and working harder.
"We came here and stuck with the game plan, scored on the power play and the penalty kill did a good job. We'll take those two points and look forward now."
Notes: Dallas D Mattias Norstrom sustained a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. ... The Stars were 2-for-5 on the power play and the Blue Jackets failed to score in three chances with a man advantage. ... The most shutouts ever against an NHL team is 20 set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1928-29. ... Columbus has lost seven of its past 10 home games.