CALGARY - A few days before the Olympic break, the Stars came through with a strong effort in a place where they've not enjoyed much success in nearly two months.
Mike Ribeiro scored twice and added an assist, Marty Turco made 33 saves, and the Stars battled their way to only their second win in their last 15 road games with a hard-nosed, 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at Pengrowth Saddledome.
It was only Dallas' second road win in regulation since Nov. 18 at Detroit -- and third road victory overall since a shootout win at San Jose on Dec. 11 -- but it came at a crucial time in the Stars' playoff push. Dallas climbed into a tie with the Red Wings for ninth place in the Western Conference, just one point behind eighth-place Calgary for the final postseason spot.
In order to do so, the Stars survived a first period Flames blitz, popped in a pair of timely goals to take the lead, then held on for the win when they successfully killed a Calgary power play with under 2 minutes to go in regulation thanks in large part to a lengthy video review that correctly wiped out a goal that truly never was.
With Stephane Robidas off for holding Jarome Iginla with 1:58 left in regulation, the Flames were left scratching their heads after having four of their shots blocked by Dallas defenders. But soon after Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was lifted with 67 seconds to go for the extra attacker, Iginla sent a harmless looking shot towards the net while in the left corner.
The puck ricocheted off Turco's left skate before he was able to quickly smother it in front of the goal line. The play was originally ruled to be the tying goal, but after nearly four minutes was correctly reversed with 29.3 seconds to go.
Ribeiro, playing in just his second game after his serious neck injury, iced it with an empty-net tally with 10 seconds remaining, pushing the puck forward on a face off in the neutral zone on the Dallas side of the red line. The puck magically skirted down the ice untouched, finding its resting home in the vacant Flames net.
Jamie Benn also scored for the Stars (27-21-12), who withstood an opening 20 minutes in which Calgary had most of the jump and shots. The Flames sent 11 shots towards Turco, and the veteran kicked all but Iginla's power-play attempt out to keep his team in it.
Kiprusoff finished with 20 saves for the slumping Flames, who dropped their third straight.
With the game tied, Benn gave Dallas its first lead of the game with his 14th of the year 3:01 into the third period. The 20-year-old rookie that's looking more impressive each time out, cruised into the slot, received a pass from captain Brenden Morrow, and promptly deposited the puck in to give the Stars a 2-1 edge.
The lead held up, and was extended by Ribeiro's nifty play at the faceoff dot when he fooled everyone by riskily playing the puck forward rather than back to cap the scoring.
Earlier, Ribeiro once again displayed his extraordinary skills by scoring his 12th of the season in incredible fashion to tie the game at 1-1 with 5 minutes left in the second period.
After Kiprusoff stopped Brad Richard's shot from the point, Ribeiro, from the side of the net, amazingly banked home the rebound off Kiprusoff's right pad by shooting the puck with his stick between his own legs.
Turco, meanwhile, was steady in net once again to improve to 3-10-3 in 16 road games this season. After a 37-save performance in a shootout loss at Chicago on Tuesday, Turco kept the team's chances alive with several sparkling stops in the first period, and made a terrific leg save on Christopher Higgins' shorthanded shot from the slot with just under 7 minutes to go in the second.
The Flames struck first when Iginla was credited with a power-play goal with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first period. Iginla came out from behind the goal line to try and jam the puck in, but Turco was able to block the attempt. The rebound popped out to Morrow in the low slot, and the captain inadvertently swatted the puck into his own net for a 1-0 Calgary lead.
The Stars will play their final game before the Olympic break on Saturday night when they visit Phoenix for another game with the Coyotes (7 p.m. FSSW). Dallas and Phoenix have hooked up to play three times in 14 days, with the Stars blanking the Coyotes, 4-0, in their last meeting at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
-- Newly acquired goalie Kari Lehtonen was scratched, as was right wing Brandon Segal. Segal was plucked off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the day. Gritty forward Steve Ott was placed on injured reserve after having an emergency appendectomy on Monday.
-- Turco is two games shy of 500 career NHL contests.
-- Modano played in his 1,446th career NHL game, tying him with Tim Horton for 19th on the all-time list.
-- Ribeiro has scored power-play goals in each of his last two games after returning from his serious throat injury. Nine of his 13 goals this season have come on the road.
-- Richards extended his points streak to five games with an assist on Ribeiro's second-period goal (2-5-7).
-- Jere Lehtinen didn't return for the third period after sustaining an upper-body injury midway through the second.
-- The teams combined for three too many men on the ice penalties, with Calgary getting whistled for two of them.
-- Dallas finished with a 3-0-1 mark against the Flames this season, and has earned at least one point in 23 of its past 29 games with Calgary.
-- Dating back to March 2002, the Stars have erased 59-of-63 Calgary power plays.