DALLAS (AP)—The Dallas Stars reclaimed the top point total in the NHL after another impressive goaltending performance.
“They had some good chances early on, but he was our best player,” Stars center Mike Modano said. “It was a good game for him to bounce back with.”
Ulf Dahlen scored while sprawling to the ice in the second period for the first goal. That one put the Stars ahead to stay. Derian Hatcher added a goal 90 seconds into the third, and Jere Lehtinen later scored for the Stars in the only NHL game Sunday.
With 81 points, Dallas again has the points lead, one ahead of Eastern Conference-leader Ottawa. The Stars have won a league-high 21 home games (21-3-4-1).
While Modano was honored before the game for the milestones he reached this season—1,000 career points, 600 assists and his 1,000th NHL game, which he played Tuesday—Tugnutt took over the spotlight once the puck was dropped.
In his first start for Turco, who is out at least another week because of a left ankle injury sustained Tuesday, Tugnutt faced just 19 shots in a 4-2 loss to Anaheim on Friday night. But he kept the Stars from losing consecutive games for only the third time this season.
San Jose took 10 shots in the first period, with Tugnutt rejecting a point-black shot by Marco Sturm on a power play just two minutes into the game.
“He was good. Tugnutt has been a good goalie in this league for a long time. Marty Turco is having a great year, but Tugnutt can play well, too,” Sharks center Mike Ricci said.
“The first period for me was key, getting a couple of shots,” Tugnutt said. “I had more of a relaxed feeling and was more focused. I prepared myself better today than at any time this year.”
Tugnutt is 9-4-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average. He has won six of his last eight decisions.
San Jose has lost five of six, all on the road. The Sharks, in last place in the Pacific Division and 28 points behind the Stars, end their longest road trip of the season Monday at Los Angeles.
Dallas has won the first three games in the season series against the Sharks—all by 3-1 scores.
Dahlen worked the puck along the boards behind the net against Todd Harvey. As Dahlen made a move to the front, he fell down and took a swipe at the puck, knocking it between the legs of Miikka Kiprusoff. Dahlen’s 13th goal gave Dallas a 1-0 lead with 7:12 left in the second period.
“We started the way we wanted to. We clogged the middle and we only let them have a few shots,” Sharks center Vincent Damphousse said. “But then they score a goal and they’re tough when they have the lead.”
Hatcher assisted on Lehtinen’s 23rd goal with 8:28 left, giving him his first multipoint game of the season. Lehtinen’s one-timer into the right side of the net, just past Kiprusoff’s glove, came after a nifty flipback pass from rookie Niko Kapanen.
Kiprusoff stopped 21 shots.
San Jose had just come off a power play, in which Dallas had two slap shots for the best scoring chances, when Hatcher scored on a rebound of Scott Young’s shot. Hatcher’s fourth goal made it 2-0.
Damphousse found the top right corner for his 16th goal 53 seconds into the two-man advantage. The Sharks weren’t able to take advantage of the final 1:07 of the power play when they had a 5-on-4 advantage.
Modano extended his scoring streak to four games with an assist on Dahlen’sgoal. He has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his last eight games.
During the pregame ceremony, Modano was given crystals and a silver stick listing the accomplishments, along with a customized chopper motorcycle. … Stars C Jason Arnott was scratched because of a sore knee. He’s day-to-day. … San Jose D Scott Hannan played 5:03 in the first period before leaving thegame with the flu. … Tugnutt is 6-2 his last nine games.