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Stars Seek to Complete Historic Comeback

Sunday, 04.22.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Stars Seek to Complete Historic Comeback

By Ken Sins

Marty Turco and Brenden Morrow sat together -- as they always do -- on Sunday's charter flight to Vancouver. They watched "Entourage" videos, made small talk and read a little.

Morrow, the Stars' captain, promised there would be one forbidden topic of conversation: the career-best shutout streak of 130 minutes and 33 seconds that Turco will carry into Monday night's Game 7 at GM Place.

Like baseball teammates who won't speak to a pitcher who's throwing a no-hitter for fear of jinxing him, the Stars will keep any thoughts of a fourth Turco shutout in the series to themselves.

Four shutouts in the series would be an NHL playoff record, by the way.

"We'll avoid certain subjects," Morrow said.

"I wouldn't say it (shutout) to him in the regular season either, so why should I say it now?" coach Dave Tippett said.

Turco and Morrow always have plenty to talk about besides shutouts.

"We sit together and hang out a lot and talk about our team, how things are going." Turco said. "Brenden cares more than people realize about his teammates. At this juncture, our best assets are action and leading and going out and doing."

With a 1.20 goals-against and .955 save percentage in the first six games, Turco has altered his reputation from playoff dud to unbeatable post-season force.

He's gotten into heads of the Sedin twins, Marcus Naslund and Brendan Morrison, four of Vancouver's most dangerous scoring threats. Not that Turco is stopping the Canucks by himself. Dallas' overall team defense has been exceptional, especially in the back-to-back shutouts.

"If we keep playing like we have been the last couple games, we'll be all right," Turco said. "Right now I feel good. We're hanging in there. I'm focused in on the task at hand."

Turco has kept his cool throughout the series. He's been fundamentally sound, seldom out of position, coming up big when he's needed the most.

"Turks is just the same," Tippett said. "When there are ups and downs, he's just a part of our team. That won't change. There'll be lots of focus put on the goaltenders and that's the way it's been the whole series. Marty's very focused. He knows what he has to do and our team knows what we have to do in front of him."

The Stars are a confident bunch, having wrestled away the momentum with two straight shutout wins to push the series to the limit. They're trying to become the first team in franchise history to rally from a three games to one deficit and win a series. They were never even able to force a Game 7 on the previous 12 occasions when they were down three games to one.

"The situation hasn't changed for us," Tippett said. "It's exactly the same as it's been the last two games. They were Game 7s for us, too. We have to play with that desperation and do whatever it takes to win and stay alive.

"Their situation is the same as ours. This is the first game where their backs have been against the wall so you've got to expect that they're going to come out and play hard and play with that desperation. We have to have that same commitment."

Dallas has won twice in Vancouver during the series and had a multitude of glorious chances to win Game 1 before the Canucks prevailed in quadruple overtime. The GM Place crowd is loud, but the Stars have not been intimidated.

"We don't feel like we're David walking into a situation," Turco said. "They're great fans who go crazy and give their team as much of an advantage as you could imagine on home ice. But we've played well and know we can win up there. We understand this is the biggest challenge."

Defenseman Sergei Zubov, the Stars' power play and penalty killing catalyst, missed the final period of Saturday night's 2-0 victory at the AAC with what the team is terming a "torso injury." Tippett said Zubov's status will be determined on Monday, but Tippett fully expects Zubov to be aboard.

"Zubie's an old-school guy," Tippett said. "I find it hard to believe he's going to miss Game 7."

Morrow said he'll definitely play after getting slashed behind the left knee by Vancouver left wing Alex Burrows late in Saturday night's game. Dallas left wing Jussi Jokinen is not on the trip (torso injury).

The Stars have sent a report to the league about the Morrow incident, although the Canucks will also point out that Morrow limped over to the Vancouver bench after the slash and got into a shoving match with Burrows.

"That's part of the playoffs," Tippett said. "There's always a little this and that, send messages here and there. We'll look at that but we haven't heard anything yet (from the league). Brenden will be fine and rarin' to go for Game 7."

Stars forward Eric Lindros will most definitely be on the trip. Lindros has returned to the lineup after sitting out more than a month with a groin injury, and his size has given the Stars a presence up front that they had been lacking.

"He's a big body who goes hard to the net and makes pretty simple plays on the wall and does little things well," Tippett said. "He's won some big faceoffs for us. He's a big, hard body, a very driven guy right now."

Lindros is familiar with the concept of rallying from a three games to one deficit. He was on the receiving end of that situation in the 2000 playoffs when his Philadelphia Flyers squandered the advantage and lost in Game 7 to a New Jersey Devils team that would go on to beat the Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals.

"Game 7 is a clean slate," Lindros said. "I wouldn't look into too much. We talk about momentum and we've been positive with it. But it's just one game. It seems like overtime starts at the National Anthems in these games. The goalies have been excellent, the defensive play on both teams has been sound.

"We're not looking back, we're looking forward, maintain our focus and try to move ahead."

 

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