PHOENIX- Five points out of six. That's what the Stars finished with on a three-game road trip that concluded on Saturday night at Phoenix with a 3-0 win. The successful trip puts Dallas in a very good position in the traffic jam of teams vying for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Entering the trip, which began on Tuesday at Chicago, the Stars could not win on the road. Dallas had gone 2-12-3 in its previous 17 road games, but managed to grab points out of all three contests away from home this week.
Dallas moves to 28-21-12 for 68 points in the standings. The Stars are 6-2-1 over the last nine games.
"You take one look at the standings, and that will tell you how big it really is," said Turco, "We know what we can do. This team with its struggles, with its injuries, with our payroll, we have a better attitude right now."
Turco was the best player for the Stars on the trip. He earned his 40th career shutout Saturday at Phoenix, stopping all 40 shots. The only person who has solved him in the last two games is teammate Brenden Morrow, who accidently put the puck in his own net in Thursday's 3-1 win at Calgary.
The Stars' net-minder has picked a good time to get hot, having stopped 208 of the last 215 shots he has faced.
And the Stars could have faded easily with the flurry of injuries, trades and acquisitions made. Instead, they focused on the task at hand and found ways to win.
"With all of the injuries we've had, the guys have dug in," head coach Marc Crawford said. "But it's amazing how good you can be when you get quality goaltending. Your belief just goes way up. It's terrific for us."
Speaking of acquisitions, Brandon Segal, who the Stars picked up off waivers from LA on Thursday, scored a goal (the game-winner) and added an assist in his Stars debut at Phoenix. he had skated with his new team just once - at Saturday's morning skate.
"You just try to do what you do," said Segal. "You go hard to the net or try to win battles, and you hope things work out."
That's exactly what the Stars acquired him for - to be physical and win puck battles in the corner. The 26-year-old did both on Saturday night.
"The plays he made were good plays, they weren't accidental," Crawford said.
Segal scored the first goal of the game by winning a puck battle in the corner, then going to the net after the puck went to the point. He tipped Trevor Daley's shot past Ilya Bryzgalov to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. In the third period, Segal won another puck battle and fed a wide-open Toby Petersen for the Stars' third goal.
Jamie Benn scored Dallas' second goal, finishing off a play he started by stripping Phoenix of the puck at the Dallas blue line and leading a 3-on-1 the other way. He gave the puck to Mike Ribeiro on the right wing and drove the net, finishing off a patient Ribeiro pass into the back of the net.
The road trip helped Dallas pull within one point of of the playoff teams at 68 points, trailing both Nashville (currently 7th with 69 points) and Calgary (currently 8th with 69 points).
"We've kept our heads above water, and now we're making a push," Crawford said. "It's nice. It couldn't have come at a better time."
-- Phoenix's Petr Prucha was knocked out of the game on a hit by James Neal. Prucha was dumping the puck into the offensive zone when Neal hit him from the side, and Prucha's head went into the glass. Prucha went to the hospital and was released with an upper body injury.
-- Jere Lehtinen sat out the game after taking a deep cut on his kneecap while blocking a shot Thursday against Calgary. Lehtinen is expected to be OK for the Olympics.
-- Six of Turco's 40 career shutouts have come vs. Phoenix - the most vs. one team. He is 18-14-2 all-time vs. the Coyotes.
-- New goaltender Kari Lehtonen traveled to Phoenix and skated with the team at the morning skate but was scratched for the game.
-- Dallas' first practice back from the break is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 11 am at Dr Pepper Arena.