Lehtinen scores second career hat trick

DALLAS (AP) -- Life atop the NHL couldn't be going any better for
the Dallas Stars.

Jere Lehtinen had his second career hat trick and Darryl Sydor
scored his first two power-play goals of the season, helping the
Dallas Stars avenge their only home loss in regulation with a 7-4
victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Dallas stretched its unbeaten streak to a season-best seven
games and did so by scoring its most goals since March 2001. The
Stars also regained the NHL point lead from idle Ottawa and
improved their Pacific Division lead to 16, easily the largest in
the league.

"It was a special night," said Lehtinen, who upped his goal
total to 18. "Every guy had a good jump. It was very fun out

Things could get a lot more fun for Dallas, which has won five
and tied two on their current run.

This game opened a stretch in which the Stars play 14 of 18
games at home -- and they are 13-1-3-1 at American Airlines Center.
More of the same could catapult Dallas toward its goal of winning
the Presidents' Trophy.

"It's early to say we want separation, but we want to build on
it and widen the gap," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.

Tippett, a first-year coach who spent the last three seasons as
a Kings assistant, has a chance to lead the Western Conference in
the All-Star game. He will be the head coach if Detroit and
Vancouver fail to notch a point Wednesday night, or an assistant if
only one of those teams gets a point.

"It would be a credit to the team," Tippett said. "I don't
score any goals; it's the players. It's like a team award and I'd
be the lucky recipient of that. It'd be an honor."

Los Angeles, which lost for the seventh time in nine games,
dominated the early minutes and led 1-0 on a redirected shot by
Brad Chartrand.

But the Kings, who had shut out Dallas twice in three previous
meetings this season including a 3-0 victory at the American
Airlines Center on Dec. 11, went nearly an entire period without
another shot.

The Stars scored three times in that span, starting with a
power-play goal by Sydor. Lehtinen followed soon after with his
first goal off a great pass from Brenden Morrow, then Morrow scored
early in the second period.

A few minutes later, Kings coach Andy Murray pulled starting
goalie Jamie Storr for Felix Potvin in hopes of sparking his team.
It didn't work.

The Stars got three goals off Potvin in eight shots, with Jason
Arnott scoring first and Lehtinen getting the next two. Storr
returned for the final period and gave up another goal, his fourth
on a total of 15 shots faced.

The seven goals were the most allowed by the Kings this season.
The previous worst of six was set just five games ago.

"I apologized to the guys," Storr said. "I'm not trying to
screw up, but things aren't working right now."

Murray also was down on Storr and Potvin.

"I thought we had as many chances as they did, but we've got to
have better goaltending," Murray said.

Los Angeles got a power-play goal from Michael Cammalleri in the
second period to make it 3-2, then Craig Johnson and Brad Norton
scored in the third period after the Stars were well ahead. Jared
Aulin assisted on Cammalleri's goal, giving him his first NHL
point. It came in his seventh game.

Dallas goaltender Marty Turco had 19 saves, but was sloppier
than usual. He had allowed only seven goals his last six games.

"The puck just seemed to find the back of the net tonight,"
Turco said.

He's right: This was the highest-scoring game in the two-season
history of the arena, topping a 6-3 victory by Ottawa on Dec. 5,

Game notes
Lehtinen's first hat trick was Jan. 17, 2001, against
Nashville. His third goal in this game came on a shot that went in
off the stick of Los Angeles defenseman Jaroslav Modry. ... Los
Angeles' four goals matched its total for the previous four games.
... Dallas' four-goal second period matched its best period of the
season, first done Oct. 12 against Phoenix. ... The Stars had their
most goals since beating Anaheim 8-0 on March 21, 2001.