DALLAS (AP)—Marty Turco finally looked like himself again, not the goaltender who had struggled in two miserable starts since signing a contract extension.
After allowing six goals on 23 shots and being pulled from consecutive games for the first time in his career, Turco had 26 saves Thursday night and the Stars stretched their winning streak to five games with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
“We knew he was going to bounce back. He wanted to show he was worth the money,” said Jason Arnott, who had two goals and an assist. “He played Marty hockey, and made some great saves.”
Arnott scored the first goal just three minutes into the game. Jere Lehtinen scored his team-high 24th goal and Brenden Morrow his 14th to give the Stars a 3-0 lead after the first period, a much different start than in Turco’s previous two games.
Last week, Turco signed a $22.8 million, four-year contract extension that will keep the two-time All-Star from becoming a free agent at the end of this season. In the first two games after signing the new deal, Turco was down 3-0 against Anaheim and Detroit before being replaced by Johan Hedberg.
Hedberg has allowed just one goal over his past 147 minutes, and has a six-game-winning streak after his start Sunday at Minnesota. But Turco was back between the pipes Thursday—and back to his old form.
“It’s a good starting point for me,” Turco said. “It was time to get to work and do my job. … I hold myself to a higher standard as far as expectations.”
Alexander Ovechkin, the 20-year-old rookie from Russia, scored the Capitals’ goal early in the second period when he snapped a shot from the left circle through the small gap between the post and Turco. It was Ovechkin’s 27th goal, 17 more than any other Washington player.
Sergei Zubov had two assists to extend his scoring streak to nine games, matching a career high. Zubov’s pass from the right circle set up Arnott’s wrister for the first goal.
Midway through the first, after the end of a power play in which the Stars got only one shot, Arnott’s centering pass set up Trevor Daley. The puck then rebounded off Olie Kolzig and was knocked in by Morrow.
“We gave them a little too much respect,” said Kolzig, who had 23 saves. “I didn’t help myself out much. I didn’t bale the guys out like I did earlier in the year.”
Lehtinen’s one-timer from the far left circle that made it 3-0 came after a pass from Mike Modano, who got the puck after Zubov cut off a Washington pass near center ice.
“We were intimidated by their players and their speed,” Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. “It seemed like we were in awe.”
The Capitals are winless in their last six games (0-4-2). They are 4-13-1 on the road this season.
Washington did have two pucks that went in but didn’t count as goals. A whistle because of a penalty came just before an apparent goal in the second period, and Ben Cylmer’s goal with 1:11 left was disallowed because he knocked it with the high end of his stick.
With the Stars heading to Boston and Montreal for its next two games, Turco had the kind of bounce-back performance coach Dave Tippett was hoping to see.
“He played a solid game,” Tippett said. “There were some chances that were a lot harder than I think they looked.”
Arnott’s second goal of the game, his 14th of the season, came four minutes into the third period.
Ovechkin wound up in the Capitals bench in the second period when Niklas Hagman avoided a check along the board. … Janne Niinimaa was on the ice for 17 minutes in his first game for Dallas. The defenseman was acquired from the New York Islanders on Tuesday for John Erskine. … Dallas is 12-1-2 its last 15 games against Washington, outscoring the Capitals 52-25. … Modano had 10 points (three goals and seven assists) his last eight games.