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 After playing more than two games to decide their playoff opener, the Dallas Stars were thrilled to have a short work night.
They made certain Game 2 of their Western Conference series at Vancouver would not be another marathon, using superb goaltending by Marty Turco and goals early in the first and second periods for a 2-0 win Friday night.
That evened the best-of-seven series as it heads to Dallas for two games. On Wednesday night, the teams played deep into the fourth overtime before the Canucks won.
``It was amazing, our guys were talking about it yesterday, that we're going to come out and dictate the pace,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. ``(Jeff) Halpern got us on the board early and I thought we were off and running.''
Halpern beat Roberto Luongo a mere 24 seconds into Game 2. Joel Lundqvist scored 45 seconds into the second period.
Then Turco took charge.
Under fire for an 8-15 record and five straight overtime losses in the playoffs, he made his best saves in the final 6 minutes. He slid across to stop Willie Mitchell in the slot and got a piece of hard blasts by Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo to preserve his first shutout in 24 career playoff appearances. Not that Turco, who stopped 17 shots in the third, was making a big deal about it.
``I thought I had one the other night,'' he 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.
``I've never second-guessed what I can do. 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.''
Elsewhere Friday night, Nashville tied its series with San Jose with a 5-2 home win, and host Anaheim went up 2-0 over Minnesota with a 3-2 victory.
Stu Barnes assisted on both goals for the Stars, who came back less than 42 hours after the opening game epic ended and showed lots of early energy. During the first shift, Halpern solved Roberto Luongo, who faced a playoff record 76 shots on Wednesday.
``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,'' Barnes said. ``It was nice to get the goal really early like that.''
Luongo made 25 saves and had little chance on the two goals.
``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.''
Predators 5, Sharks 2
J.P. Dumont scored a short-handed goal, then added a power-play goal 2 1/2 minutes later. Peter Forsberg scored two goals, rookie Alexander Radulov had a goal and an assist in the first period, and Marek Zidlicky had two assists.
Craig Rivet and Ryane Clowe scored for visiting San Jose, which outshot Nashville 24-22.
With emotions high, the teams combined for 32 penalties - 10 in the first period alone - with officials busy separating players. When Forsberg clinched the victory with an empty-netter with 65 seconds left, things disintegrated with three separate fights off the ensuing faceoff and five players ejected.
``We came here to play hockey tonight,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ``We knew it was an important game, and they turn it into a street brawl.''
Ducks 3, Wild 2
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin scored two power-play goals and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves for host Anaheim.
``We needed to take advantage on home ice and we did that,'' Beauchemin said. ``Now we've got to go back there and keep playing our game. Their fans are good, and that's a great place to play. They're a good defensive team, and we knew going in the games were going to be close.''
Beauchemin scored in the first and second periods, and Ryan Getzlaf added a short-handed goal later in the second period. Then Anaheim held on after Mikko Koivu pulled the Wild within 3-2 on his goal with 4:56 remaining.
Marian Gaborik had a second-period goal for Minnesota.
Bryzgalov started in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere again. He also started the final three games of the regular season while Giguere remained home to be with his wife and newborn son, who had a medical problem.
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