Stars 2, Senators 0
OTTAWA (AP)—The Dallas Stars are perfectly comfortable playing on back-to-back nights.
Marty Turco earned his second shutout of the season, and Brenden Morrow scored his 10th goal and assisted on Jere Lehtinen’s 17th, leading the Dallas Stars to a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Turco stopped 25 shots for his 23rd career shutout as Dallas recovered from Wednesday’s 4-3 loss in Buffalo. Dallas has gone 14-3—including a pair of five-game winning streaks—to surge into first place in the Pacific Division.
The Stars improved to 6-0 this season in the second game on consecutive nights.
“I really think a lot of it has to do with the players’ commitment to off-ice conditioning,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “(Strength and conditioning coach) J.J. McQueen does just a heck of a job with the guys. Two games in two days and you’ll see most of our guys working out right here after the game.”
Sure enough, a number of players were exercising with various pieces of equipment, turning a hallway outside Dallas’ dressing room into an impromptu gym.
“It’s an instinctive thing when you come back to the rink,” Turco said about playing on consecutive nights. “When the mind and the body is all one and the thinking is out of the game, and you know where to be and you trust in everybody else, it’s going to be easy, you just go out and do it. … We pride ourselves on showing up on both nights.”
Ottawa, which entered with the most goals scored in the NHL (124) and the fewest allowed (59), was shut out for the second time this month and lost for just the third time in 15 home games. The Senators (22-5-2), who lost 3-0 in Boston on Dec. 1, lead the Eastern Conference with 46 points despite losing three of four (1-1-2).
“It looks like we had the great run, we’ve kind of fallen off a bit, and now we’ve got to get it back,” Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said.
Dallas limited the Senators to three power-play opportunities while converting one of its 10 chances with the man advantage.
“When we’re short-handed that much in one game it’s obviously going to hinder us,” said Ottawa center Jason Spezza, who returned after missing one game with a hip injury. “It takes the flow out of the game and then they sit back and play four men back and we don’t penetrate them very well. We have some changes to make and adapt to these rules a little bit better.”
Morrow caught a break to open the scoring on a power play 11:40 in. Senators rookie Ray Emery stopped Morrow’s shot but the rebound bounced off Ottawa defenseman Brian Pothier and carried into the net.
“It went off my hand and I tried to throw it down to my stick, and I think (Pothier) was just trying to clear the puck and bounced around a couple of times and found it’s way into the net,” Morrow said.
Lehtinen, the Stars’ leading scorer, put the puck past Emery after Morrow kicked it during a scramble with Senators forward Mike Fisher.
Emery made 25 saves, losing his second straight game after setting an NHL record by winning nine straight to begin his career.
Turco, who beat Edmonton 4-0 on Nov. 7, came sprawling out of the net early in the third period to take away a scoring opportunity from Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Stars C Mike Modano was credited with an assist on Lehtinen’s goal following the game which extended his point streak to seven games. Modano has two goals and seven assists during the run. … Ottawa hadn’t been shut out at home since a 6-0 loss to Toronto on April 3, 2004. … Rookie Senators D Andrej Meszaros ended a five-game point streak that included one goal and four assists.