Whatever they're putting in the Alberta water, Marty Turco is certainly liking it.
Turco stood on his head for the second straight game in the Canadian province, making 31 saves in Dallas' 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday night.
Brenden Morrow and Niklas Hagman scored for the Stars, who impressively swept through Western Canada by winning all three games started by Turco on the just-concluded road trip that saw them go through Edmonton and Vancouver as well. Dallas also stayed ahead of second-place San Jose by two points in the Pacific Division after the Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks earlier in the day.
"Marty has been like this the whole trip, just giving us a chance to win," coach Dave Tippett said. "For whatever reason, he plays awfully well up here in Canada."
Turco was simply phenomenal. Twenty-four hours after a 32-save performance in Dallas' win in Edmonton Friday night, he thwarted the Flames continuously at every turn. He made 26 saves over the first two periods to help the Stars stay in the game, and finished with over 30 stops for the third straight contest to win for the fifth time in his last six starts.
"This is a great streak he's on," Tippett said. "We are just finding ways to win. Sometimes it's not pretty but effective."
The Stars top-ranked penalty killing unit also did its job to help secure the team's sixth win in the last eight games, killing off all seven of the Flames power-play opportunities.
Turco must have shared his water bottle with gritty forward Steve Ott. Though he didn't get on the scoresheet, Ott did his part to help fester the up-tempo and feisty game. He was like a player possessed throughout the affair, hitting anything that moved while antagonizing a Flames team that was frustrated by Turco's steadiness in the crease.
"We didn't know what Ott would bring after an injury riddled season last year, but he's been very strong with the puck and he's positionally very good," center Mike Modano said. "He is a well known agitator and just competes so hard. He causes guys to think more about him than their game."
Ott also played a major role on Dallas' penalty-killing unit, and was rewarded with over 18 minutes of ice time, the second-most he's accumulated this season. He then helped preserve the win when he blocked Daymond Langkow's shot from the top of the left circle with just nine seconds left in regulation.
"This was a fun one tonight," Ott said. "I love games like this. I just love challenges like this, it just revs up my game. I made some new friends out there tonight."
All of this came against a surging Flames team that had won four straight and nine of the past 13 coming in. Langkow was the only player to solve Turco, while Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 22 saves.
"Marty was really solid, as was Kiprusoff," Modano said. "They really matched up well. We just got one more save."
With the score tied at 1, Hagman gave Dallas its first lead in the game when he popped home his 19th of the season just 2:28 into the final period. Hagman skated from out behind the Calgary net to about two feet above the goal line to the left of Kiprusoff. He quickly turned and sent a wrist shot that caught the top of the net on the short side.
"Hagman is another one who's been good in this building," Tippett said. "He scored a big goal that put us ahead and was really good for us once again."
Langkow gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with his 21st goal of the year 5:37 into the second period. On a play that was barely onsides, Jarome Iginla lugged the puck over the Dallas blueline and fed Alex Tanguay with a pass in the left circle. Turco blocked Tanguay's initial shot, but Langkow chipped the rebound home while driving to the net.
Morrow tied it with just over six minutes left in the second with his team-high tying 22nd goal of the year. From the left circle, Mike Ribeiro snapped a wrist shot toward the Calgary net. Morrow, driving hard to the crease, was able to get a piece of the puck before it snuck past Kiprusoff and just inside the left post.
Calgary was flying early on in the second, and at one point held a 13-4 shot advantage. But Turco stymied the Flames with outstanding stops, including a scintillating save on Langkow in which he blocked a high shot with his glove while sprawling to his right. The save was upheld after a short video review.
Turco also made five saves during a Calgary power play when Morrow was whistled for tripping midway through the second.
Turco kept the Flames at bay during a scoreless first period. He was able to turn aside four of top scorer Iginla's shots, and also got some help when Tanguay hit the goal post from in tight.
Antti Miettinen had a glorious opportunity to stake the Stars to a lead, but he was unable to shovel the puck into a gaping net after Ribeiro sent him a soft pass in the slot.
Overall, Calgary held a slim 11-10 advantage in shots after the first 20 minutes.
"We were much more ready to go," Ott said. "We really fed well off each other and Marty was our savior again. He has been great the last three games."
Dallas will now return home to play Vancouver at American Airlines Center on Tuesday (7:30, FSN). The Stars defeated the Canucks 4-3 this past Tuesday, a win that sparked them to their highly productive Western Canada road trip.
The Canucks have lost three straight, including a shootout loss to Florida on Friday.
--Brad Winchester was inserted into the lineup for the first time in eight games after Krys Barch was scratched after experiencing some back pain.
--Ribeiro has five assists in his last three games. He was originally credited with the first Dallas goal before it was given to Morrow.
--Dallas is 4-0-1 in the past five meetings between the two teams.
--Since 2001-02, the Stars are 19-5-3 against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver in road-trip games in which they've played all three teams.
--Iginla finished with six shots. He has scored just eight goals in 40 career games against Dallas, and is currently on a nine-game goal-less streak.
--Dallas has successfully killed-off 22 consecutive opponent power-play opportunities.
--Hagman had a team-high six shots, and was foiled on a breakaway attempt in the third period while short-handed. He was hooked and haggled by Calgary defenseman Adrian Aucoin and was unable to get a good shot on Kiprusoff.
1 - 0 CGY
1 - 1 Tie