Stars 5, Blackhawks 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DALLAS (AP)—The Dallas Stars are getting their players back, just in time for the playoffs.

Marty Turco made 24 saves in his return from a four-game suspension and Jere Lehtinen had a goal and an assist after missing six games with a back injury, leading the Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Shayne Corson had two goals for Dallas, which finished fifth in the Western Conference. The Stars will face fourth-seeded Colorado in the opening round.

Dallas got back three other injured regulars: Stu Barnes, Sergei Zubov and Jon Klemm.

“It seemed like we had more rhythm in our lineup,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “Adding those key members of our team made a significant difference.”

Bill Guerin and Val Bure also scored for Dallas, which will start the Colorado series on the road.

The Stars lost three of four games against Colorado this season. The Avalanche outscored the Stars 11-3 in Colorado’s three victories, but Dallas won the finale 5-1.

“We’re playing one of the top teams in the league,” Guerin said. “You’re going to have to play them sooner or later. We get them first. They’ve got great individual players so we’re going to have to do the job defensively, one-on-one.”

Turco had been suspended for high-sticking Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth on March 24. Ron Tugnutt started in place of Turco, and the Stars lost all four games, including two in overtime.

“It’s a different game when he’s out there,” Stars center Mike Modano said of Turco, who set a career high with his 37th victory.

Klemm and Brenden Morrow missed the third period due to what the Stars called lower body injuries. The players’ condition will be evaluated on Monday, although Tippett said both were “probable” for the Colorado series.

Ryan VandenBussche had two goals and Jocelyn Thibault stopped 22 shots for the Blackhawks, who ended the season on a nine game winless streak (0-5-2-2).

Chicago coach Brian Sutter’s contract is up, and team management has made no decision on his status for next season. Sutter wants to come back and he was upbeat about the Blackhawks’ future.

“There are a lot of good things going on here and it’s up to us to add to it,” Sutter said. “As coaches, we’ve done everything we can in this situation to see how good we can be. We played younger guys and unfortunately we weren’t good enough as a team often enough.”

Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Corson’s deflection 5:26 in. Lehtinen’s power-play goal from the slot at 9:02 of the first period gave the Stars a 2-0 lead.

Guerin added his 34th goal of the season at 6:37 of the second period on a power play. His centering pass banked off the skate of Chicago defenseman Deron Quint and past Thibault to make it 3-0.

VandenBussche scored at 13:03 of the second period, but Bure scored on a rebound for his 22nd goal with 56.9 seconds left in the second to make it 4-1.

Corson’s breakaway with 10:08 remaining extended Dallas’ lead to 5-1.

Notes

The Stars were 14-1-4 in their final 19 home games. … D Richard Matvichuk, whose wife, Tracy, gave birth to a son, Richard Dillon, on Saturday night, was scratched for Dallas. … C Jason Arnott (groin) and RW Scott Young (back) also missed the game for the Stars. Arnott should be ready for the playoffs. … The Blackhawks finished with 59 points, fewest in the West. … Dallas avoided the franchise-low for goals scored, getting 194. The franchise’s fewest was 189 in 1968-69, when the club was based in Minnesota. … The Stars are unbeaten in their last 78 games when leading after two periods (72-0-6).That’s the longest current streak in the NHL.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
B. Guerin B. Guerin
Dallas Stars
Scored at 6:37 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Jocelyn Thibault Buf 27 22