Canucks Looking to Lead Series

Marty Turco has received plenty of criticism for his career playoff record. Allowing one goal in the last seven periods should go a long way toward silencing that.

Turco and the Dallas Stars hope to take a lead in a postseason series for the first time in four years Sunday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of their first-round matchup.

Oddsmakers have made Dallas -150 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -150 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

If there was any negative hangover from the Stars' 5-4, four-overtime loss in Game 1 on Wednesday, it certainly didn't show in Game 2 on Friday.

Jeff Halpern and Joel Lundqvist scored on the opening shift in each of the first two periods, and Turco made 35 saves for his first career postseason shutout as Dallas evened this series with a 2-0 victory.

With the win, the Stars gave themselves a chance to lead a playoff series for the first time since they beat Edmonton in six games in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals. They lost to Anaheim in six games in the next series and to Colorado in five games in each of the past two seasons.

Turco was at his best Friday in the third period, when he turned aside all 17 shots. He allowed Henrik Sedin's goal with 1:54 left in the fourth overtime of Game 1 and has stopped 68 of the last 69 shots he's faced.

Turco, who had been 1-7 in his previous eight road playoff games, improved his overall career postseason record to 9-15.

"I thought I had one the other night," Turco said with a smile, pointing to three scoreless overtime periods. "I count those. It doesn't really mean anything, it's all about the first win of our series."

The shutout was the first for the Stars in the playoffs since Ed Belfour blanked New Jersey in Game 5 of the 2000 Stanley Cup finals. Dallas won that game 1-0 on Mike Modano's goal in the third overtime.

"I've never second-guessed what I can do," Turco said. "There's been disappointment, there's going to be more at times down the road. I've talked a lot about it, just doing what I can and really concentrating 100 percent on that and just accepting what comes."

Friday's victory bodes well for the Stars, who have won eight of their last nine series when they've won Game 2. Dallas, though, has lost its lost four home playoff games.

After going nearly 80 minutes without beating Roberto Luongo in Game 1, the Stars only needed 24 seconds of Game 2 to take a 1-0 lead. Halpern gave Turco all the support he needed by deflecting Sergei Zubov's pass from the point behind the sliding Canucks goaltender.

"I don't know if you can plan something like that but we wanted to come out early and have a good effort to start the game," Dallas' Stu Barnes said. "It was nice to get the goal really early like that."

No team has been better with a lead this season than the Stars, who were 26-1-2 when leading after the first period during the regular season.

Lundqvist's first career playoff goal 45 seconds into the second period gave the Stars, what has been for them, an insurmountable lead. Dallas is 29-0 with a two-goal lead, joining Buffalo as the only teams to win every game they held a two-goal advantage in during the regular season.

Luongo stopped 23 shots Friday after he made a playoff franchise-record 72 saves in his postseason debut in Game 1.

"For me tonight it was two mistakes at the beginning of each the first and second period from two different forwards that led to tap-in goals for them," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "And it wasn't the fact our guys were fatigued, it was just we didn't bring our best game to the table."

Injuries to regulars Matt Cooke, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler forced the Canucks to insert center Tommi Santala, a healthy scratch in Game 1, and call up forwards Nathan Smith and Jannik Hansen from the AHL for Game 2. Kesler is expected to miss the rest of this series with a broken finger.

Hansen played well in his NHL debut on a line with Brendan Morrison and captain Markus Naslund, registering four shots on goal in only 9:43 of ice time.

Game 4 is Tuesday at Dallas.

by: Gary Roberts - - Email Us

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