DALLAS (AP)—This was the kind of game NHL executives dream about: Two elite clubs playing at their best before a national TV audience, needing overtime to settle it. When five thrilling minutes weren’t enough, on came a shootout—one that was extended to sudden death by a bizarre play overturning an apparent winning defensive stand.
Turco made 27 saves and was bailed out for two mistakes—a slashing penalty and a thrown stick—when Mike Modano pounded a shot into the top of the net in the first round of sudden death, giving the Stars a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday.
“It was an exciting afternoon,” Modano said. “NBC probably couldn’t have asked for a better game.”
“The only people who didn’t like that game was the American Airlines Center crew,” joked Stars coach Dave Tippett, referring to the long game (2 hours, 51 minutes) making it even tougher for arena workers to convert the playing surface in time for the second half of Dallas’ first-ever NHL-NBA doubleheader.
The Stars, playing their third shootout in 3 1/2 days, won their fourth straight game and second in a row over Detroit after going 10 games against them without a win. Dallas also improved its league-best shootout record to 8-0 and upped its point total to 70, one behind Detroit for the most in the Western Conference.
“We keep getting closer to those guys,” Turco said.
The Red Wings fell to 1-1-2 in their last four games. They are 1-1 in shootouts, or, as coach Mike Babcock called it, “the thing at the end.”
“I think the fans love it, but it’s got nothing to do with the game,” he said.
Turco, a former University of Michigan star, had been 0-5-5 against Detroit. Although the Stars beat the Red Wings 6-3 in his last start, he was pulled after letting the club fall behind 3-0.
He was superb from the start this time, snuffing the league’s top power play on its first five chances, including more than 1 1/2 minutes when they had a two-man advantage. Then he gave the Red Wings a sixth power play by slashing Tomas Holmstrom early in the third period and Holmstrom scored during it.
Dallas’ Jere Lehtinen tied the game with 5:12 left, then Turco turned away seven shots in overtime—most on another Detroit power play—to force the shootout.
With the Stars up 2-1 after two rounds, Turco had a chance to seal the victory by stopping Henrik Zetterberg. He did, too, forcing him to push the puck wide right.
But Turco’s stick slipped out of his hands while he tried to poke away the puck. Turco immediately turned to an official and shook his blocker to indicate he did nothing wrong. The official apparently agreed because the Stars began celebrating. Then replay officials took another look, ruled it a thrown stick and credited Zetterberg with the tying score.
“I didn’t mean to throw it, but I’m sure it was the right call,” Turco said.
Detroit goaltender Manny Legace followed by stopping Antti Miettinen, forcing sudden death. Turco then redeemed himself by popping Robert Lang’s shot over the goal and Modano ended it with a blistering shot past Legace.
“It comes down to a skills competition and their skill is better than mine,” Legace said.
Legace made 19 saves, including several excellent ones. He stopped Modano at the edge of the crease to preserve the shutout midway through the third period and stopped Jason Arnott in the opening seconds of overtime. Arnott then drew the penalty that put the heat on Turco for much of the overtime.
As exciting as the game way, it actually got off to a bumpy start with five penalties the first six minutes. Things were so out of control that a Dallas player was released from the penalty box too soon and the game clock was reset to 20:00 during the confusion. Detroit also had a goal waived off because of a high stick.
Turco stopped 2-of-4 shootout attempts. He came in 11-of-12. … Lehtinen’s goal was his 25th and ended a skid of seven games without a point. … The only teams Turco hasn’t beaten are Philadelphia (0-0-3) and Pittsburgh (0-1-0). … The Red Wings have scored a power-play goal in 14 straight games.