Dallas Rounds Up Victory in T.O.
TORONTO (CP) -- The Dallas Stars are the hottest team in the NHL and Marty Turco is a major reason why.
Whether or not it's enough to get him on the Canadian Olympic team is another question.
"He's making a real strong case for himself,'' said Stars captain Mike Modano, who will head to Turin for the U.S. team. "The last 4-5 weeks he's been the lead guy in that (goalie) category I think. I've been watching the other guys around the league. But he's been consistent and he's hitting his stride right now. And it's been a huge plus for us.''
Turco improved to 12-2-0 over his last 14 games, allowing only 27 goals in that span. And he was nearly perfect on Hockey Night In Canada.
"I'm Canadian, I'm die-hard, of course it's nice, it feels good,'' Turco said, a Hockey Night In Canada towel hanging around his neck.
While Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils remains the projected starter for the Olympic team, Turco is in a dog fight with Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers, Jose Theodore of the Montreal Canadiens and Curtis Joseph of the Phoenix Coyotes to win one of the two remaining jobs.
"When the time comes for them to make a decision, hopefully I'll feel good about myself either way,'' said Turco.
The native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was pelted with 13 shots in the first period and helped his team weather the storm, then sat back and enjoyed his team's defensive checking as the Stars limited to Toronto to only seven shots in the final two periods.
"The score really flatters us,'' said Leafs coach Pat Quinn.
Jere Lehtinen and Jon Klemm scored first-period goals for the streaking Stars (19-7-1), 10-1-0 in their last 11 games.
Captain Mats Sundin scored the lone goal for the Leafs, who dropped to 15-12-3 and lost their third straight -- all at home.
"Our offence is not doing anything right now,'' said Sundin, who scored his first goal in six games.
Quinn shuffled his lines after the second period, once again teasing fans by putting Eric Lindros with Sundin and Darcy Tucker.
"We were searching for something to get us some offence,'' said Quinn, who isn't sure he'll keep them together for Monday's game with Anaheim.
Sundin made it interesting when he blasted a slapshot from the right-side boards that beat Turco five-hole at 11:41 of the third period, waking up an Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,394 that was waiting for something to cheer for. But the Leafs never got another sniff.
Leafs netminder Ed Belfour, who also has an outside shot at the Olympic team, lost his fourth straight start despite stopping 32 of 34 shots, staying tied with Terry Sawchuk in second place for all-time victories by goaltenders in the regular season at 447.
He could have used some offence. The vaunted Leafs power play went 0-for-7, while the Stars went 1-for-4.
Klemm, with his first of the season, opened the scoring at 6:07 of the first period when he stepped out of the penalty box, took a lead pass from Stephane Robidas, and skated it alone on Belfour. The Leafs netminder made the first save but Klemm banged in the rebound.
It was the 18th game in a row the Stars scored a power-play goal, a new team record, and only three behind the NHL record of 21 games set by the New York Rangers in the 1989-90 season.
Lehtinen, with his team-leading 15th, made it 2-0 just over two minutes later, breaking free from a Bryan McCabe check in front and one-timing a shot past Belfour after a nice feed from Mike Modano.
The crowd was mostly on its feet when Toronto's Darcy Tucker and Steve Ott of the Stars squared off in a lively bout late in the first period, with each middleweight getting their share of knocks in. We'll call it a draw.
Toronto defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo levelled Stars winger Bill Guerin with a thunderous open-ice hit late in the period, but the veteran got up and finished his shift.
Notes: Leafs defenceman Alexander Khavanov left the game with a knee injury. The extend of the injury was not known after the game ... Forwards Mariusz Czerkawski, Chad Kilger and Clarke Wilm were healthy scratches for Toronto. Defenceman Staffan Kronwall was still battling a knee problem. ... The Stars were without defenceman Philippe Boucher, who is out with a broken finger ... The Stars were playing their first of a season-long, six-game road trip. They next face Buffalo on Wednesday. ... The Leafs host Anaheim on Monday.