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Stars need all of Turco's 40 saves to tie Avs

DENVER (AP) -- The NHL's crackdown on interference seemed to produce more skating and open ice at Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

It failed to produce more scoring, but not for lack of trying.

Colorado's Radim Vrbata scored the tying goal in the third period, and the Avalanche and Dallas Stars skated to a 1-1 tie in their regular-season opener. Each team had a power-play opportunity in overtime.

"I thought the referees called the obstruction rule the right way,'' Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "I think we saw an entertaining game. We saw power plays on both sides, and both teams came up with unbelievable penalty-killing and great saves during those power plays.''

Dallas coach Dave Tippett agreed.

"It was an exciting game and I think the fans got their money's worth,'' he said.

Dallas' Niko Kapanen scored at 4:20 of the first period -- the
first goal of the NHL season and the first of his career.

Dallas goaltender Marty Turco had 40 saves, and Colorado's
Patrick Roy had 24.

Dallas center Jason Arnott had to be helped from the ice after
injuring his right leg when he was dragged down by Vaclav Nedorost
near the goal in the first period. He did not return and was to be
re-evaluated on Thursday.

Besides Turco's 40 saves, Dallas fought off seven straight
Colorado power plays.

"I thought our goaltender was very good tonight,'' Tippett said. "He bailed us out. We had a great start, then shot ourselves in the foot a few times and gave them momentum. We spent a lot of time in the penalty box.

"We'll take the point, but we have a lot of work to do.''

Hartley said his team "would have loved a win. But if we work
every night like we did tonight, we won't lose too many games.''

Dallas dominated early, building a 12-0 edge in shots before
Colorado got its first shot on goal 12 minutes into the game.

"I don't know why we came out so flat the first 10 minutes,'' Avs forward Peter Forsberg said. "It was a bad start and something we have to work on.''

Fans celebrated an apparent Colorado goal at 17:32 when Mike
Keane looked to have poked the puck past a sprawled Turco, but it
was disallowed because the whistle had blown.

Colorado got a power play out of that threat, but Turco
withstood a flurry of scoring chances. The Avs outshot Dallas 16-15 in the period.

Kapanen, the Stars' leading scorer in the preseason, took a pass from Bill Guerin and beat Roy from the left circle.

Turco had several acrobatic saves in the second period, and Roy
stopped Brenden Morrow on a partial breakaway.

Joe Sakic, slashed by Turco on the right knee, went to the
dressing room but returned, hitting the right post with a shot
moments later.

Colorado's Alex Tanguay had a prime scoring chance early in the
third period. Turco was down on the ice in the front of the crease,
but Tanguay, engaged by Derian Hatcher, couldn't put the puck into
the open net.

Vrbata tied it at 7:18, flipping the puck over a prone Turco
just seconds after Forsberg and Sakic had shots at the net.

"It was a great effort by Joe and Peter,'' Vrbata said. "We were cycling the puck well. I was just lucky to find myself in front of the open net.''

On Colorado's sixth consecutive power play of the game,
defensemen Derek Morris, acquired in a five-player deal with
Calgary on Oct. 1, hit the crossbar.

Game notes
Colorado extended the NHL's longest current sellout streak to 348 games, including the postseason. ... Tippett was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings the last three years. ... The Avs allowed an NHL-low 169 goals last season but also scored a franchise-low 212. ... Colorado is seeking an unprecedented ninth straight division title.