Stars 4, Kings 1
Friday, October 13th 2006, 11:25 am
By: News On 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Earlier this year, the Dallas Stars obtained six-time All-Star Eric Lindros and extended goaltender Marty Turco's contract. Both moves seem to be paying off.
Lindros had three assists, one on Jussi Jokinen's power-play goal, and Turco made 32 saves to lead the defending Pacific Division champions to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
``I think we have a team this year that's going to play extremely well,'' Lindros said. ``There's a good feel in this room and it's fun to go out and play hockey. It's not just one line or a couple of guys, it's the whole group. Everyone's having fun and contributing.''
Antti Miettinen and Brenden Morrow also scored and Mike Modano had a goal and an assist, helping Dallas improve to 3-0 _ all with Turco in net. The only thing that stood between the two-time All-Star goaltender and his 25th career shutout was Raitis Ivanans' first NHL goal with 17:09 to play.
``Marty's been excellent,'' coach Dave Tippett said. ``He's made a couple of tough saves when he's had to, and the team has played pretty well in front of him. I like the way our team's competing, and that's from Marty on out.''
Turco set a franchise record last season with a career-high 41 victories. He was rewarded in January with a four-year, $22.8 million contract extension, which prevented him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and locked him up through the 2009-10 season. Three seasons ago, Turco set a modern NHL record with a 1.72 goals-against average.
``It's a great place to raise a family and it's a place we wanted to be. But more than anything, what it boiled down to for us was the opportunity to win,'' Turco said. ``It's a decision I felt deeply about. I was brought up in this organization and had cemented some roots there, so I wanted to see this thing through.''
The teams meet again at Staples Center on Saturday night.
``Tonight we just got sand kicked in our face,'' Kings coach Marc Crawford said. ``We did not have the type of passion that we needed to play with. The team was not ready to play at the start of the game, and that is my fault.''
Miettinen opened the scoring 19 seconds after the opening faceoff with a one-timer from short range after Niklas Hagman set him up from behind the net. Modano made it 2-0 at 14:22 of the first period, converting a rebound after Dan Cloutier made a leg save on a 35-foot slap shot by Lindros in the slot.
``Eric's a competitor and a warrior,'' Turco said. ``He's been great for us. There are a lot of adjectives and cliches that have gotten thrown his way during his career because of the things that have happened to him. But he's still got the physical attributes and the skill, and it's his hunger that really pulls him into this team. It's a common bond that we all share and the one thing we really care about.''
Morrow gave Dallas a three-goal lead at 1:55 of the second period, backhanding the puck off Cloutier from a sharp angle to the right of the net. Cloutier didn't face the Stars last season while with Vancouver. He was limited to just 13 games because of a knee injury that knocked him out for the final 61 games.
Turco stopped the first 27 shots he faced before the Kings got on the board less than 3 minutes into the third period. Tom Kostopoulos dumped the puck into the left corner and took a strange carom into the left circle instead of going around the boards. Ivanans outhustled former Kings defenseman Philippe Boucher to the puck and sent a wrist shot over Turco's glove as he slid out to cut down the angle.
The Stars were 0-for-13 on the power play this season before Jokinen connected with 20 seconds left on a hooking penalty against Kostopoulos. Lindros set him up with a backhanded pass in front of the crease.
Notes: The Kings were 6-2 against Dallas last season, the only team in the division with a winning record against the Stars. Four of the victories were decided by one goal. ... The Kings were 0-for-8 on the power play. ... Modano has 34 goals and 74 points in 68 career games against Los Angeles.