Stars ring up crucial victory over Avs

DENVER (AP) -- The Dallas Stars displayed the intensity they'll
need to capture a playoff spot.

Mike Modano scored a short-handed goal, backup goalie Marty Turco stopped 28 shots and Dallas played stifling defense in a 2-1
victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

"The third period was some of our strongest team play since I'm
not sure when, probably in the last three months," Dallas coach
Rick Wilson said. "It was a good sign."

The win was critical for the Stars, who are battling Phoenix,
Vancouver and Edmonton for one the final two playoff spots in the
Western Conference. Colorado is in second place in the conference.

Both of Dallas' goals came on odd-man rushes after Colorado
mistakes. The Stars played almost flawless defense and allowed the
Avalanche few offensive chances.

Modano scored a short-handed goal at 9:35 of the first period.
After Joe Sakic whiffed on a one-timer from the slot, Adam Foote
lunged at the puck to keep it in the Dallas zone, but just
deflected it toward the boards.

Modano scooped it up and went on a breakaway, slipping the puck
between goalie Patrick Roy's legs for his 31st goal of the season.

"I think a goal like that, when it's short-handed, lets
everybody kind of settle down a bit," Modano said. "Everybody did
the real simple things well. We didn't try to force the issues
tonight. We let the game that was out there be played."

Colorado had its own short-handed chance shortly after Modano's
goal when Dan Hinote brought the puck down on a 2-on-1, but instead
of passing, he took it in himself and hit Turco in the chest.

Turco got the start after Ed Belfour was pulled two games in a
row. Though he made several impressive saves, it was the Dallas
defense that kept Colorado out of the net.

John MacLean scored the eventual winner at 5:20 in the
second when Foote turned over the puck to Pierre Turgeon in the
left-side neutral zone. Turgeon fired the puck, and MacLean slapped
in the rebound to give Dallas a 2-0 lead.

Colorado's lone goal came on a bizarre play. The puck ended up
in front of the net after taking an unexpected bounce coming around
the left glass. Turco had gone behind the goal to play the puck,
and Sakic poked it into the open net for a short-handed goal.

Roy, who finished with 27 saves, fell victim to a nearly
identical goal when Colorado lost to Nashville 5-2 in January.

It was just the second time Colorado has scored on a power play
in 26 chances. Coach Bob Hartley credited Dallas, but faulted his
own team for failing to convert on three power plays in the second

"In the second period, we had all the chances in the world to
get back in the game on the power play and we didn't even get a
shot on net," Hartley said. "It's very simple to analyze this
game, we didn't play well enough to win and didn't give ourselves a
chance to compete."

The Avalanche are depleted by injuries, with Milan Hejduk and
Rob Blake, tied for second on the team in points, out indefinitely.
Blake missed his second game with a bruised knee and Hejduk has an
abdominal strain.

Game notes
Colorado's penalty-killing is the best in the league at
88.6 percent. ... Colorado's Radim Vrbata was selected rookie of
the month Friday. He has six goals and an assist in seven games.
... Dallas' Pierre Turgeon has a five-game point streak. ... Roy
had not lost a regulation game to Dallas since Dec. 28, 1998, a
12-game stretch.