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Stars 3, Blue Jackets 2 @NHLdotcom

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Stars now have a great reason to remember the 2005-06 season as more than the one that came after the lockout.

It's now the one with their most regular-season victories.

Goaltender Marty Turco came within 2:27 of reaching the milestone with a shutout, then ended up making a save just before time expired to preserve a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

"We had a scare," Turco said, "but we'll take a lot more positives from this game."

Jason Arnott got Dallas going toward its franchise-record 52nd victory with an early power-play goal and Janne Niinimaa and Jaroslav Svoboda added rare goals, sending the Stars into the final period in good shape against a team already eliminated from the playoffs.

But Duvie Westcott began Columbus' rally with a shot from the right faceoff circle that slid under Turco. With 1:34 left and the Blue Jackets having pulled goalie Marc Denis for an extra attacker, Sergei Fedorov scored to make things interesting. Rick Nash nearly tied it in the final second, knocking the puck at the net - but into Turco's right foot.

"The puck was thrown out in front. I deflected it in the air, it went off our defenseman. Nash shoveled it toward the net and it hit me in the toe," Turco said. "It was a good lesson for us to close out games."

Dallas won for the third time in four games since a three-game losing streak. The Stars remained perfect in Dallas against Columbus (10-0), with Turco improving to 9-0-0 against the Blue Jackets.

At 52-22-5, Dallas has 109 points, tying the 1997-98 club for the third-best total in team history. The Stars - who are locked into the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference playoffs - have to win their final three games to top the franchise record of 114 set by the 1998-99 team that won the only Stanley Cup in team history.

"I thought tactically we were pretty good, but we were a little sloppy at the end, which leaves a sour taste in your mouth," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said.

Tippett's primary objectives against Columbus were ending a recent trend of picking up too many penalties and getting captain Mike Modano back onto the ice after he'd missed two games with a knee injury.

Modano got off to a slow start by getting caught holding 42 seconds into the game, but assisted on Arnott's goal a few minutes later. He left the ice bleeding from the bridge of his nose late in the first period after getting whacked by the shaft of Adam Foote's stick, a play that drew a double minor. He returned for the second period and played 12:34.

Denis, who was 3-0-1 in his last four starts, made 23 saves and kept the game close. The only even-strength goal he allowed was to Svoboda with 29 seconds left in the second period.

"I thought we competed hard in the third period, but we took too many penalties in the first two periods," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "We had three penalties I wish we could have had back. We were shorthanded for half of the first period. But we never quit and battled back."

The Stars finished with four penalties. They'd faced 19 power plays their two previous games and 41 over the last five, an average of 8.2 per game.

"Penalties had been an issue and we were much better tonight," right wing Bill Guerin said. "But our discipline in the last five minutes, we really have to clean that up."

Dallas has been rolling when it has the man advantage, with Arnott's goal on the first try giving the Stars power-play goals in 15 of their last 16 games. They scored on two of seven chances, with Niinimaa's goal also coming on a power play.

Arnott's goal was his 31st of the season, two shy of his career best. He upped his career-best point total to 73.

Niinimaa, playing his 699th career game, scored only his second goal since joining Dallas on Jan. 10. Svoboda's goal was his fourth, the most in his four-year career.

Fedorov's goal was his first in nine games.

Notes: Dallas D Willie Mitchell and LW Brenden Morrow were scratched, essentially to rest them before the playoffs. Morrow was listed out with "minor bumps and bruises," a condition probably every NHL player has this time of the year. ... Denver is the only other city where Columbus has never won. ... Chris Osgood's 15-0-0 record against Tampa Bay is the only active mark better than Turco's against Columbus. ... Arnott has scored 16 points in 14 career games against Columbus.

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