VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Marty Turco waited more than three years to celebrate in overtime of a playoff game, so he didn’t mind missing Thursday night’s winning goal too much.
Turco made 21 saves before Brenden Morrow scored a power-play goal 6:22 into overtime to lead the Dallas Stars to a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, and avoid being knocked out in five games for a third straight playoffs.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a playoff hero in the locker room with me,” said Turco, who had lost six straight in overtime since the first round of 2004. “I was kind of sad. I didn’t really see it go in. You kind of want to see it go in. I just saw it in the air, so I was double-checking with the ref.”
Sure enough, the referee was pointing into the net to signal a goal after Morrow cruised through the slot and deflected Sergei Zubov’s point shot off Roberto Luongo, then up and over the goaltender and into the net.
“Marty has been unbelievable,” Morrow said of Turco, whose overtime losing streak included two in this series alone, starting with a four-overtime, 51-save marathon in Game 1. “He’s given us a chance to win and he’s just sitting back there waiting for someone to step up, and we earned our break tonight.”
They had to against Luongo, who kept the Canucks alive early in overtime with a big glove stop on Mattias Norstrom’s shot from the slot 1:46 in, and a shoulder save on Jeff Halpern from the same range two minutes later. But Sami Salo was called for too many men on the ice after jumping on the ice to break up a two-on-none break and the Stars’ power play, which was 2-for-28 in the series, finally clicked.
“It was do or die and tonight we were all about the do,” said Turco after his second shutout of the series—and his career.
Still up 3-2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal, the Canucks get another chance to clinch Saturday night in Dallas, where the Stars have lost both games in this series and six straight overall—one shy of a NHL playoff record.
“This is what it’s all about,” said center Bryan Smolinski. “We have three tries to do this. It didn’t happen tonight. Now it’s in the past and we move on.”
Turco kept the Stars in the game early, getting a piece of Smolinski’s short-range shot with his glove on a rare three-on-one rush just 28 seconds in. He also made big stops on Salo and Markus Naslund on a power play two minutes in, and a diving, stacked-pads stop on Henrik Sedin’s rebound chance from atop the crease.
“Marty gave us a chance to win,” said Morrow.
Luongo took over the starring role when the Stars took control of the play in the second period, outshooting Vancouver 12-3. Luongo made a dazzling stop on Morrow alone in close, sliding to his right after Mike Modano s pass from behind the net. He also got a glove on Joel Lundqvist’s shot from the faceoff circle and poke-checked Mike Ribeiro cutting in alone off the wing.
“Both goalies were excellent. That’s just what’s happening in the series,” said Stars coach Dave Tippett, noting both teams had now scored nine goals. “It just goes to show how even the teams are, how well the goaltenders are playing.”
The Stars came agonizingly close to scoring on their own goal on a delayed penalty against the Canucks 1:37 into the third period. With Turco already off for an extra attacker, Loui Eriksson’s pass back to the point missed his teammate and banked toward the empty Dallas net, deflecting off the outside of the post.
“It looked center cut to me sitting on the bench,” said Turco. “You just have to close your eyes and pray. It stayed out and right from then, that whole possibility of tonight was our night, and sure enough it was.”
^Notes: Stars forward Eric Lindros returned after missing the last 20 games with a groin injury, with Antti Miettinen sitting out to make room. Dallas LW Jussi Jokinen did not make the trip to Vancouver after suffering an upper body injury in Game 4 and was replaced by Eriksson. … Dallas has trailed 3-1 in a series 12 times in franchise history and never managed to come back. … The Canucks have come back from a 3-1 series deficit three times, and blown it once. … If necessary, Game 7 will be played in Vancouver on Monday night. … After combining for nine goals in Game 1, the teams have combined for just nine goals in the next four games.