Teams around the league are learning when they play the Edmonton Oilers, chances are pretty good the game's going to go to a shootout. The Stars found that as well, and certainly liked the result.
Sergei Zubov scored the lone shootout goal, and Marty Turco made 33 saves to help give Dallas a 2-1 win at Rexall Place on Tuesday. Jeff Halpern scored in regulation for the surging Stars, who picked up their fourth straight win thanks to earning their second consecutive shootout victory.
"Tonight the goalies played real well," said Mike Modano, who assisted on Halpern's tally in the first period. "Both teams had great opportunities, but the goalies had the answers."
After Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson stopped Modano in the first round of the shootout, Zubov flipped the puck over Roloson's left shoulder to force the Oilers' leading scorer, Shawn Horcoff to convert in the third round. But Horcoff never had a chance, as Turco effortlessly kicked aside the forward's attempt with his left leg to improve to 8-2 over his last 10 starts.
The win kept Dallas in first place in the Pacific Division, and gave it a solid 2-0 start to its four-game road trip.
Dustin Penner scored for the Oilers, who lost for only the second time in 12 games decided by a shootout this season.
"I was pretty fortunate in the shootout because of the shooters I have on my side," said Turco, who also stopped Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky in the shootout. "When people talk about a lack of goal scoring, I don't think they're taking about great games like this. There were great chances and it was really fun."
Especially for the Stars, since it was their sixth straight win in Edmonton, and seventh of eight overall over the Oilers. The last time Dallas lost at Rexall Place was in Jan. 2004.
"These are always fun games to play," Modano said. "It's a great atmosphere here. We really like the skating and the re-grouping with the good speed."
Eight days after the Stars chased Roloson by scoring on three of their first six shots in a 5-4 overtime win in Dallas, both Roloson and Turco were spectacular throughout the up-tempo game.
The two were at their best over the final two periods and overtime when both teams had plenty of quality scoring chances. Turco continuously spit out shot after shot, while Roloson bailed out his defense's lackluster play in front of him.
With the Stars on their first power play of the game midway through the third, Roloson made a big stop on Modano's blast from the right point. Turco answered when he closed the door on Fernando Pisani's short-handed chance.
The Stars then helped Turco out with five minutes left in regulation after the netminder was whistled for an interference penalty on Edmonton forward Jarret Stoll. The Oilers weren't able to penetrate Dallas' penalty killing unit, and only mustered a single shot during the advantage.
But perhaps Roloson was at his strongest over the final 1:35 of overtime. That's when the Stars went on a power play after Steve Staios hauled down Mike Ribeiro as Ribeiro was breaking for the net. Roloson turned aside six shots during the 4-on-3 to send the game into the shootout.
In all, the teams combined for 70 shots on goal, with Dallas holding a 28-23 edge over the final 45 minutes.
"It was an entertaining game and very valuable points," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought that might have been Marty's best game of the year."
Halpern put the Stars on the board first with his seventh of the season just 3:21 into the game, converting a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with linemates Steve Ott and Modano. Ott started the sequence with a pass from the left corner to Modano, who was in the left circle. Modano then quickly fed Halpern at the bottom of the right circle, with Halpern depositing the puck into an open net.
The Oilers tied it on the power play when Penner notched his ninth with 1:38 remaining in the first. Defenseman Tom Gilbert brought the puck into the Stars zone but was taken out by defenseman Nicklas Grossman along the right boards near the hashmarks. Penner, though, picked up the loose puck and drove to the net before chipping it over Turco.
Though the second period saw no goals, it had plenty of end-to-end action. Turco made several dazzling stops, including denying Penner's breakaway attempt with about five minutes left in the frame. Roloson was also sturdy in the Edmonton net, especially during the final five seconds of the period when he made consecutive stops on Ribeiro from in tight.
"We had people ready to execute in different situations," Tippett said. "We tweaked it up a little bit in the shootout and it turned out our way tonight. Zubie found a way and Turcs was great."
The Stars will continue their four-game road trip when they visit Vancouver to play the Canucks on Thursday night (9:00, FSN). This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Canucks ousted Dallas from the first round of the playoffs last spring with a Game 7 win.
The Canucks were given a boost when starting goalie Roberto Luongo returned in Tuesday's 5-0 win over New Jersey after he missed the past four games because of bruised ribs. However, center Brendan Morrison will miss the next three months after having surgery performed on his wrist earlier this week.
--Of Halpern's seven goals, five have come on the road.
--The Stars have won 12 of their last 16 games (12-4).
--Turco is now 13-4 in 17 lifetime games against the Oilers.
--The Stars were 0-for-2 on the power play after coming in having scored at least once with the man advantage in their last four games.
--The line of Modano, Halpern and Ott combined for 12 shots.
--Edmonton's last four games have gone to shootouts.