DALLAS - For a few hours Sunday, the Dallas Stars tumbled out of first place in the Pacific Division.
It didn't take long before they surged back into the lead.
Marty Turco made 19 saves for his 33rd career shutout, Brad Richards notched his first goal in a Dallas uniform, and the Stars ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
The Stars have 89 points, maintaining their one-point edge over the second-place San Jose Sharks and four-point pad over third-place Anaheim. Earlier in the day, the Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout and briefly took over the division's top spot.
Stu Barnes and Stephane Robidas also scored for Dallas, and Mike Modano added two assists to help the Stars halt Colorado's season-best six-game winning streak.
"Obviously, the standings are tight," Robidas said. "We're trying not to look at them and focus on ourselves. But the last three games, we haven't played the kind of hockey we're used to, so tonight was important."
Turco, who stopped 11 shots in a busy second period after facing only one shot in the opening period, improved to 30-16-4 this season, giving him five straight seasons of 30 or more victories.
"The way we played was relentless," Turco said. "We're going to need more of the same. The way we played in the first period gave us a chance to win."
Richards had five assists in his first game with the Stars after being acquired from Tampa Bay in a five-player trade Feb. 26. But Richards had been without a point in his next two games until he collected a goal and an assist Sunday after coach Dave Tippett moved him from centre to right-wing on a line centerd by Modano.
"It's an adjustment, but it's easier playing with a guy who thinks the game like (Modano)," Richards said.
Centre Peter Forsberg was out for the Avs with a groin injury sustained in Saturday's 3-1 win over Dallas in Denver, and is listed as day-to-day.
Forsberg re-signed with Colorado on Feb. 25 and has two assists in three games, both coming in Saturday's win, and the Avs obviously missed the Swedish star.
"You always want him out there," Colorado defenceman Kurt Sauer said.
The Avs had been 9-3-1 in their last 13 road games, but the Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in first 5:25 against starting goaltender Jose Theodore.
The Stars came out with a much harder edge than they did Saturday, building a 12-1 shots advantage in the first period.
"They came out hard and Turco made the saves when he had to, but at the same time, we didn't play our best game," Sauer said. "We've got to move the puck better and make smarter plays."
Barnes notched his ninth of the season on a rebound at 3:56 of the first period, and Robidas made it 2-0 at 5:25 with his seventh on a shot from just inside the blue line that got past a screened Theodore.
Richards' one-timer from the right circle at 6:55 of the second period was his 19th goal of the season, stretching Dallas' lead to 3-0.
Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville lifted Theodore after two periods, replacing him with Peter Budaj.
"I gave Jose a rest and (hoped to) change momentum maybe," Quenneville said.
Notes: Colorado's six-game winning streak was its longest since taking eight in a row Dec. 31, 2005-Jan. 17, 2006. ... Dallas nearly held an opponent without a shot in a period for the fifth time in franchise history, but Scott Hannan's shot in the final minute of the opening period glanced off Turco's shoulder. The last time a Stars opponent failed to get off a shot in a period was Colorado on Jan. 10, 2004. ... Modano's assist on Robidas' goal was the 750th of his career. ... Turco had his 10th career win over Colorado and first shutout against the Avs. ... The teams ended their season series by splitting the four games. ... Colorado D Jordan Leopold (head) and Ruslan Salei (eye) missed the final two periods with injuries. D Adam Foote was also out for the Avs with a hip injury.