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Turco makes 24 saves in return

4/4/2004

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars are getting their players back, just in time for the playoffs.

Marty Turco made 24 saves in his return from a four-game
suspension and Jere Lehtinen had a goal and an assist after missing
six games with a back injury, leading the Stars to a 5-2 victory
over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Shayne Corson had two goals for Dallas, which finished fifth in
the Western Conference. The Stars will face fourth-seeded Colorado
in the opening round.

Dallas got back three other injured regulars: Stu Barnes, Sergei
Zubov and Jon Klemm.

"It seemed like we had more rhythm in our lineup," Stars coach
Dave Tippett said. "Adding those key members of our team made a
significant difference."

Bill Guerin and Val Bure also scored for Dallas, which will
start the Colorado series on the road.

The Stars lost three of four games against Colorado this season.
The Avalanche outscored the Stars 11-3 in Colorado's three
victories, but Dallas won the finale 5-1.

"We're playing one of the top teams in the league," Guerin
said. "You're going to have to play them sooner or later. We get
them first. They've got great individual players so we're going to
have to do the job defensively, one-on-one."

Turco had been suspended for high-sticking Edmonton's Ryan Smyth
on March 24. Ron Tugnutt started in place of Turco, and the Stars
lost all four games, including two in overtime.

"It's a different game when he's out there," Stars center Mike
Modano said of Turco, who set a career high with his 37th victory.

Klemm and Brenden Morrow missed the third period due to what the
Stars called lower body injuries. The players' condition will be
evaluated on Monday, although Tippett said both were "probable"
for the Colorado series.

Ryan VandenBussche had two goals and Jocelyn Thibault stopped 22
shots for the Blackhawks, who ended the season on a nine game
winless streak (0-5-2-2).

Chicago coach Brian Sutter's contract is up, and team management
has made no decision on his status for next season. Sutter wants to
come back and he was upbeat about the Blackhawks' future.

"There are a lot of good things going on here and it's up to us
to add to it," Sutter said. "As coaches, we've done everything we
can in this situation to see how good we can be. We played younger
guys and unfortunately we weren't good enough as a team often
enough."

Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Corson's deflection 5:26 in.
Lehtinen's power-play goal from the slot at 9:02 of the first
period gave the Stars a 2-0 lead.

Guerin added his 34th goal of the season at 6:37 of the second
period on a power play. His centering pass banked off the skate of
Chicago defenseman Deron Quint and past Thibault to make it 3-0.

VandenBussche scored at 13:03 of the second period, but Bure
scored on a rebound for his 22nd goal with 56.9 seconds left in the
second to make it 4-1.

Corson's breakaway with 10:08 remaining extended Dallas' lead to
5-1.

Game notes
The Stars were 14-1-4 in their final 19 home games. ... D
Richard Matvichuk, whose wife, Tracy, gave birth to a son, Richard
Dillon, on Saturday night, was scratched for Dallas. ... C Jason
Arnott (groin) and RW Scott Young (back) also missed the game for
the Stars. Arnott should be ready for the playoffs. ... The
Blackhawks finished with 59 points, fewest in the West. ... Dallas
avoided the franchise-low for goals scored, getting 194. The
franchise's fewest was 189 in 1968-69, when the club was based in
Minnesota. ... The Stars are unbeaten in their last 78 games when
leading after two periods (72-0-6). That's the longest current
streak in the NHL.