Stars 4, Canadiens 1
's blistering-hot play burned his former teammates, while the surging Stars spoiled the homecoming of two former mates and an ex-coach.
Ribeiro, who played for the Canadiens for six seasons, had a goal and two assists, and Marty Turco made 17 saves to lift Dallas to a convincing 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at American Airlines Center on Sunday night.
Antti Miettinen had a goal and assist, and Brenden Morrow
and Stu Barnes also scored for the sizzling Stars, who won for the fourth time in their last five home games against the Canadiens after finishing a four-game road trip with three wins.
The Stars head into their Christmas break as one of the hottest teams in the league. They've won two straight, six of seven, and 14 of 19 to shoot to the top of the Pacific Division, and now enjoy a five-point lead over the San Jose Sharks, who were idle on Sunday.
The game also marked the return of former Stars players Guy Carbonneau and Kirk Muller, as well as past assistant coach Doug Jarvis. Carbonneau, the Canadiens head coach, played a major role in Dallas' run to its 1999 Stanley Cup win. Muller, Carbonneau's assistant with Montreal, helped the Stars to their second straight Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2000, while Jarvis, Montreal's current assistant coach, was the pair's assistant coach in Dallas.
Andrei Markov scored Montreal's lone goal, while goalie Carey Price made 17 saves in the loss.
"Our guys have battled awfully hard over the past several games," coach Dave Tippett said. "We keep going out and doing what we can to earn wins."
The hosts certainly weren't accommodating to the ex-Dallas trio, nor to the triumvirate's Canadiens, who were making their first appearance in North Texas in nearly four years. The Canadiens came in having earned points in four of their last five games, but were undone by Montreal native Ribeiro's offense and Turco's splendid goaltending.
"I'm sorry to ruin Carbo's Christmas, but I didn't want to let him ruin ours," said Morrow, who is Carbonneau's son-in-law. "It was a solid outing for us coming home after a long road trip."
"I was very anxious to play in this game, and so was Brenden," Ribeiro said. "We had a good start and it went well from there."
It's actually been going really well for Ribeiro, who was acquired from Montreal just prior to last season. Coming off his dramatic game in Calgary on Friday in which he scored twice, including the winner 57 seconds into overtime, Ribeiro didn't hold back two nights later. It was the fourth game he's been able to earn three or more points, and he's now registered eight goals and seven assists in his last eight games.
"I got traded at a young age and I really appreciate (Montreal GM Bob Gainey) sending me to a place like Dallas," Ribeiro said. "He sent me to a great team and I'm grateful I'm here with he Stars."
"There were a lot of sub-plots in this game," Tippett said. "You have to give the guys a lot of credit coming off a long trip and coming home and getting the win, led by Ribeiro."
After a scoreless second period, Ribeiro didn't waste any time to collect his team-leading 19th of the season to give the Stars a 3-0 lead. Just 70 seconds into the final frame, Ribeiro picked-off Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik's pass in the slot and quickly lifted a wicked wrist shot over Price's right shoulder.
Barnes pushed Dallas' edge to 4-0 two minutes later when he ripped a slap shot from the right circle that got past Price after the goaltender was able to get a piece of it. It was Barnes' second goal of the season.
Markov spoiled Turco's shutout bid when he scored his ninth with 6:25 left in regulation. The defenseman was able to ram home Siarhei Kastsitsyn's feed down low.
"We blocked a lot of shots and kept pressure on them throughout," Turco said. "Ribs had another great game. He's just an amazing player who sees the ice so well and creates chances every time he touches the puck."
The Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead 7:38 into the game when Miettinen notched his seventh of the season. Miettinen started the play from the left circle, sending a cross-ice pass to Ribeiro in the right circle. Ribeiro then gave a pass right back to Miettinen, who had begun to drive to the net, and the winger lifted the puck over a sprawled Price.
Dallas added to its lead when Morrow was the beneficiary of pretty tic-tac-toe passing play less than four minutes later. Miettinen fed Ribeiro in the right circle, and Ribeiro immediately sent the puck to Morrow, who was standing near the left side of the crease. Morrow neatly tapped-in the perfect feed for his 13th of the season.
"It was a good effort all the way around," Morrow said. "Now we're going to enjoy these next few days and get back to work on Wednesday."
The Stars have the next two days off before returning on Wednesday when they host the Minnesota Wild (7:30, my27). It's the first meeting between the two teams this season. Dallas went 3-0-1 against the Wild last season, including winning two of the three games that were decided by a shootout.
The Wild lost to Detroit 4-1 on Saturday night, snapping a four-game winning streak. Forward Marian Gaborik was held without a goal against the Red Wings two days after netting five and adding an assist versus the New York Rangers. Gaborik became the first player in 11 years to score five times in a game.
--Defenseman Mark Fistric
made his NHL debut, replacing the injured Mattias Norstrom. Norstrom was scratched because of a lower body injury sustained in the second period of Dallas' 3-2 overtime win over Calgary on Saturday. The 21-year-old Fistric was called up from Iowa of the AHL on Wednesday. "That lineup has to be by far the youngest lineup we've played in a long time and that speaks well for the organization," Tippett said. "We had a few guys step up and fill in where needed."
--Center Mike Modano left briefly in the first period after the puck hit him on the inside of his right ankle on a pass. He was unable to put any weight on his right leg, and needed assistance when he headed to the Stars locker room before returning.
--Ribeiro is one goal shy of his career-high set with Montreal in 2003-04.
--Turco is 9-3 in his last 12 games with a 1.89 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.
--The Stars have won seven of their last nine at home.
--Montreal's 11 road wins were tied for the most in the Eastern Conference.
--Dallas improved to 6-3 against the East, and 3-1 versus the Northeast Division.
--The Stars killed off all five of Montreal's power-play opportunities. The Canadiens came in with the top PP unit in the league.
--Jeff Halpern's assist on Barnes' goals was his 250th career NHL point.
|Three star selections