GLENDALE, Arizona - As well as they played, it feels like the Dallas Stars deserved a better fate.
After an outstanding performance from goaltender Marty Turco, who made 28 saves, the Stars lost a heart-breaker on a shootout goal by Kyle Turris to fall 1-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Coyotes netminder Ilya Bryzgalov was also scintillating in the other crease, stopping 38 Dallas shots as Phoenix won the shootout 3-2 in five rounds after neither club could find the back of the net through 65 minutes of end-to-end action.
The loss leaves the Stars 1-2-1 in their last four games and at 17-17-6 on the season. They entered the day 13th in the Western Conference standings and while they did gain one point, Dallas lost ground to a team they are chasing for that eighth and final playoff spot.
“We had some opportunities but couldn’t capitalize,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “Both goalies made some good saves. Important points right now, we are in a position where every single point is so valuable. We have to keep moving forward and showing energy and commitment to play the game hard. We have to be better, we are in the winning business, not the almost-win business.”
It was the Stars’ second shootout game in their last three games, following a 3-2 win over Vancouver last Sunday, and their sixth game to go past regulation in their last 11, in which they are 4-0-2. Overall on the season, Dallas is 3-3 in the shootout now.
Phoenix forward Peter Mueller scored on the Coyotes’ second shootout attempt, beating Turco with a wrist shot from the slot before Mike Ribeiro evened it up on the next shot by connecting on a sweet move where he drew Bryzgalov to the left post before sliding the puck back to the right side.
In the fourth round, rookie James Neal scored for Dallas, but Steven Reinprecht answered for Phoenix to extend the shootout to round five.
Bryzgalov then made a glove save on Mike Modano’s wrist shot from the slot and Turris won it for Phoenix when he swept in on Turco and made a wide move to his backhand before lifting a shot past the blocker and in.
Despite the OT loss, Turco was excellent throughout the evening and was named the game’s second star behind Bryzgalov.
“We felt like we deserved better and we had some good chances that we need to bury,” said Turco, who rebounded from a sub-par outing Thursday night in Detroit when he was pulled after surrendering four goals in the first two periods. “I felt better tonight, but it sucks to not get the extra point. This was a better effort but our execution needs to be there.”
With the game scoreless heading into the final period, the Coyotes very nearly took the lead on a power play at the 6:43 mark, but Turco made a fantastic save. After Turris ripped a one-timer from the left face-off circle high and wide, Mueller caught the puck in mid-air at the right goalpost, set it down, and swiped it into the crease on his backhand, but Turco dove across the goal line to just barely stop it in time. Following a video review, the ruling on the ice of ‘no goal’ was upheld.
Then, 37 seconds later, with Phoenix still on the man advantage, Turco made another big stop, this time denying Olli Jokinen’s snap shot from the slot.
Dallas had a golden opportunity with a late power play and came very close on two occasions but could not get one in. With 4:46 to go, Bryzgalov made a nice stop on Loui Eriksson from the slot and then 15 seconds later, Eriksson received a nice feed from behind the net by Brad Richards, and fired a scorching wrist shot from in close, but it clanked off the left goalpost.
“Loui had about three or four chances in the third but couldn’t find a way to score,” Tippett said.
Turco came up big again with 3:14 remaining, thwarting Mikkel Boedker’s shot from the top of the circles and then gloving Turris’ point-blank rebound while lying on his back.
The Stars then had to kill off a late penalty when Trevor Daley was whistled for tripping with 1:16 left in regulation. Turco’s pad save on Shane Doan’s blast from the left circle with two seconds on the clock sent the contest into overtime.
Each club had solid chances in the final minute of OT, but again, the goaltenders ruled on this night, Bryzgalov denying Richards’ blast from the slot with 55 seconds remaining and Turco returning the favor on Doan’s slap shot from the right circle with 43 seconds to go.
“We played better as a team, we had a chance to win and we’d like to have opportunities back tonight,” Richards said. “You have to give credit to Bryzgalov, he is big in the net and we couldn’t get anything by him. We have to keep working on our execution, will and effort, whatever it takes to get wins.”
The good news following the first period was that for the first time in four games, the Stars did not surrender a goal against (in fact trailing 2-0 in each of their previous three contests), but the bad news was that they could not find the back of the net either, despite outshooting Phoenix 9-6.
The tight checking and solid goaltending at both ends continued in the second period, with each netminder keeping his team in the game with big saves. Phoenix had the edge in shots, 12-11.
Turco’s biggest stop of the second came with 6:08 gone in the period when Enver Lisin blew past defenseman Stephane Robidas at center ice after the puck hopped over Robidas’ stick. Lisin raced in on a partial breakaway, but the puck rolled on him as he reached the front of the net. Turco still had to make a sprawling pad save to keep the puck out, though, on a play that ended up with Robidas in the penalty box for hooking.
The Stars killed off that penalty, along with three others throughout the night, neutralizing the Coyotes’ 29th-ranked power play unit that is now 1-for-32 over their last seven games.
After four straight road games in which they traveled over 7,600 total miles, the Stars return home to the American Airlines Center for a rematch against defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit on Monday (7 pm, VERSUS). After the Red Wings rolled to a 6-1 victory Thursday, Dallas will be looking for redemption at home, while also desperately needing the points.
- Oddly enough, even though he gets charged with an OT loss, Turco is credited with a shutout, his first since March 9, a span of 46 games, and the 34th of his career.
- Neal, who was selected to play in the YoungStars Game during the All-Star festivities on Jan. 24, is now 2-for-2 in the shootout this year. He led the club in hits with five.
- With his shootout goal, Ribeiro is now 4-for-6 on the year.
- Modano, who was just named to his seventh career All-Star Game, fell to 2-for-4 in shootouts this season.
- Eriksson led the Stars with eight shots on goal (which doesn’t include his shot off the goalpost late in the third period), while Modano had seven and Richards six.
- Winger Joel Lundqvist returned to the lineup after missing the last eight and 29 of the last 30 games with a shoulder injury. In 13:32 of ice time, he registered one shot on goal and delivered one hit while skating on a line with Richards and Eriksson. “It’s been a while since I’ve been out there, so it’s definitely nice to be back,” Lundqvist said. “I felt good out there.”
“Lundy brings solid energy after such a long layoff,” Tippett said.
- To make room for Lundqvist, Chris Conner sat out as a healthy scratch.
- The Stars were 0-for-3 on the power play, leaving them 2-for-24 over their last six contests, after they went 6-for-16 in the previous four.
- The Stars dominated face-offs, holding a 13-3 edge in the first period alone, and 30-23 overall. Richards was 11-6 for a stellar 65 percent efficiency.