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Stars move one point ahead of idle Sens

3/6/2003

DALLAS (AP) -- Although Dallas grabbed the lead in the race for
the Presidents' Trophy with a 7-4 victory Wednesday night over
hapless Chicago, Stars coach Dave Tippett wasn't happy.

"Some wins are pretty, some are pretty ugly. This was pretty
ugly,'' Tippett said. "That was a sloppy, ugly hockey game, but
we'll take the two points and run.''

Phillippe Boucher scored the go-ahead goal in the third period
and Jere Lehtinen extended his career-best goal-scoring streak to
five games as the Stars moved a point ahead of idle Ottawa. The
team with the most regular-season points is guaranteed home-ice
advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Stars also got goals from Claude Lemieux, Mike Modano, Scott
Young, Niko Kapanen and rookie Steve Ott as they matched their
highest scoring game of the season.

But Dallas goaltender Ron Tugnutt allowed four goals in 25 shots
while Chicago's Steve Passmore gave up seven on 28 shots.

"There was average goaltending on both sides,'' Tippett said.
"It was 5-4 and neither team had gotten to 20 shots yet.''

Sergei Berezin had two goals for the Blackhawks, winless in
their last eight (0-6-0-2) games. Chris Simon and Mark Bell also
scored for Chicago which finished 0-4 against Dallas.

Dallas is 3-1-3-1 in its last eight games and 23-3-6-1 at
American Airlines Center, the best home start in franchise history.

The win enabled the Stars to surpass last season's victory and
points totals. In 67 games, Dallas has 37 victories. The Stars had
90 points and 36 wins in 82 games last season, when they failed to
make the playoffs.

Berezin scored two goals over a span of 41 seconds early in the
third period to pull the Blackhawks into a 4-all tie.

But Boucher converted Pierre Turgeon's cross-ice pass from the
left circle with 14:24 remaining to put the Stars ahead for good.

Young's goal with 6:45 left and Kapanen's with 2:43 to play
closed out the Blackhawks.

"The only positive of this game is that we got two points and
found a way to win,'' Boucher said. "You don't want to have to win
games like that.''

With the game tied at 2, Modano scored his 27th goal on a
power-play rebound at 8:49 of the second period. Lemieux's goal at
16:40 made it 4-2.

Passmore was caught out of position when he roamed to the right
circle to play the puck, and he was unable to scramble back into
position in time to stop Lemieux's rebound of Kirk Muller's
wraparound.

"I'd love to have an excuse on that one but I don't,'' Passmore
said. "I just didn't shoot it hard enough.

"That goes on my shoulders. It's very frustrating right now. We
scored four goals and that's got to be enough. Personally I let my
teammates down and my coaches. I'm disgusted.''

Berezin brought the Blackhawks back with his 17th and 18th
goals, scoring on a rebound at 1:09 of the third period, then
connecting from the left circle at 1:50 to tie it.

That was the night's highlight for the fading Blackhawks.

"If we could have held on to the tie, maybe we could have taken
something out of it,'' Berezin said.

Simon gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 6:56 of the opening
period, but the Stars tied it at 1 at 12:23 of the first period on
Ott's second career goal.

Bell's 11th goal, on a deflection 54 seconds into the second
period, put Chicago in front 2-1, but Lehtinen responded 21 seconds
later with his career-high 28th to tie it at 2.

Game notes
Blackhawks LW Eric Daze missed his fourth straight game with
an infected right foot. ...LW Brenden Morrow was back in the Dallas
lineup after missing nine straight games due to a rib injury.
...Muller had two assists to give him 600 for his career. Muller
broke a drought of 28 games without a point. ...Dallas has power-
play goals in seven straight games, longest streak of the season.
...The Stars had a season-high 13 players with at least one point.