Series (Game 1 of 1)

Dallas leads 1-0

Game 1: Sunday, March 2nd

Penguins 1

(25-32-5, 59 pts)

Stars 3

(36-13-2, 89 pts)

8:30 PM ET, March 2, 2003

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 T
PIT 0 0 11
DAL 2 0 13

J. Arnott (Stars - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Hatcher (Stars - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

J. Lehtinen (Stars - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Stars need to find replacements with Guerin now out

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars are counting on Jason Arnott and Jere Lehtinen to ease their adjustment to life without power forward Bill Guerin.

Jason Arnott

Dallas' Jason Arnott fired a shot past Pittsburgh goalie Sebastien Caron.

Arnott scored twice, and Lehtinen stretched his goal-scoring streak to four games as the Stars handed the Pittsburgh Penguins their fifth consecutive defeat, 3-1 Sunday night.

Guerin, Dallas' second-leading scorer, is expected to miss the rest of the regular season due to a severely bruised right thigh. Guerin remained in a Dallas hospital recovering from surgery. He missed his second consecutive game.

''Bill Guerins are not born on trees,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. ''All parts of his game will be missed. Other guys have to fill in and we definitely have the people capable of doing that.''

Lehtinen scored midway through the first period, Arnott added a power-play goal later in the first, and Arnott fired into an empty net in the final minute for Dallas, 2-1-3-1 in its last seven.

Mario Lemieux's power-play goal with 1:48 left spoiled Ron Tugnutt's bid for his third shutout of the season.

Lemieux, playing his first game in Dallas since Jan. 19, 2001, beat Tugnutt from the left circle off a pass from Martin Straka.

But Arnott scored his 17th goal with 56.3 seconds remaining to restore Dallas' two-goal lead.

''It was definitely tough news,'' Arnott said of Guerin's injury. ''We thought he was only going to be out a couple of weeks. We have to move on and everyone has to chip in and we did that tonight.''

Lemieux had few scoring chances until his goal. He had an opportunity four minutes into the second period when he took the puck down the left side and got around defenseman Phillippe Boucher, but was stopped from close range by Tugnutt.

The Penguins, outscored 13-2 in their last three games, continue to scratch for goals.

''It just seems like nobody can score in the last few games, especially on the road,'' Lemieux said. ''We have got to get more people involved. You're not going to win many games when you score one goal. If the puck isn't moving quick enough, it's hard to score. We're still trying to learn how to do that.''

Tugnutt, making his ninth consecutive start with top goalie Marty Turco out because of a sprained ankle, stopped 19 shots. Tugnutt, who allowed 13 goals in his previous three games, smothered Shean Donovan's redirect with 6:52 remaining.

Lehtinen scored his career-best 27th goal on a one-timer from the slot off a feed from Niko Kapanen to give Dallas a 1-0 lead at 12:24 of the first period.

Arnott made it 2-0 at 17:58 of the first while the Stars held a two-man advantage. Arnott set up to the right of the Pittsburgh goalie Sebastien Caron and converted Pierre Turgeon's goal-mouth pass.

While the Stars moved closer to wrapping up a playoff berth, the Penguins need to pick up the pace quickly if they are going to qualify for the postseason.

''It's really tough right now,'' Caron said. ''We can still be there and we have to believe that until we're mathematically eliminated. The last goal was a good sign. We played 60 minutes tonight and that's what we have to continue to do. Mario's goal was a big one for us, it put us right back in the game, but unfortunately they took advantage of an empty net.''

Game notes

Dallas left wing Brenden Morrow missed his ninth consecutive game due to a bruised chest, but he could return to the lineup by midweek. ... Dallas opened with a strong positional period, outshooting Pittsburgh 17-6. ... Lehtinen already has two more goals than last season when he established his previous career high. ... Lehtinen's previous best goal-scoring streak was three games in the 2000-2001 season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press