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Tugnutt notches 24th career shutout

DALLAS (AP) -- Ron Tugnutt's inconsistent run as the replacement
for injured Stars goaltender Marty Turco was back on the rise
Sunday night.

Tugnutt stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season,
making goals by Stephane Robidas, Brenden Morrow and Jason Arnott
hold up in Dallas' 3-0 victory over San Jose.

"I haven't been around for as long as I have because I'm some
stiff,'' said Tugnutt, who had been 4-4-3 with a 2.50 goals-against
average entering Sunday's game since taking over while Turco
recovers from a sprained ankle.

Tugnutt, who registered his 24th career shutout, has been under
scrutiny after allowing some soft goals, fueling doubts over his
ability to handle the load in the playoffs if Turco can't return at
full strength.

"That's one thing that will tick an athlete off,'' said
Tugnutt. "I've got to prove to you people that you're wrong about
me.''

The Stars remained unbeaten in four games against their division
rival, which has fallen to last in the Pacific Division and was
eliminated for the division championship after winning the Pacific
last season. The first-place Stars, who'd won three straight
Pacific titles before the Sharks finished on top a year ago, have a
15-point lead over second-place Anaheim.

"It feels pretty good to knock them out,'' Morrow said. "We
want to win every night, but if it happens to be us (eliminating
the Sharks), that's even better.''

Robidas scored just over two minutes into the game, then Morrow
connected from close range in the final minute of the second period
as the Stars improved to 93 points, best in the Western Conference.

The Stars killed off seven power plays, including a double-minor
for highsticking against Manny Malhotra that began at 10:12 of the
final period.

"That four-minute kill was huge,'' said Tugnutt. "Games like
this you have to win. They really didn't have much to play for,
other than jobs for next season and trades.''

Miikka Kiprusoff had 21 saves for the Sharks, still recovering
from the shock of trading away captain Owen Nolan and physical
defenseman Bryan Marchment. More Sharks deals could be forthcoming
before Tuesday's trading deadline, further distracting the San Jose
players.

"It's a tough situation,'' said Sharks right wing Teemu
Selanne, who's been the subject of trade rumors, but who has the
right to approve any deal. "We're hearing the whispers. If there's
something interesting on the table, I'd be stupid not to look at
it. They want to start over again and I can control where I'm
going. So I'm prepared for anything.''

The Sharks, beaten at Phoenix 6-4 on Saturday night and 1-4-0 in
their last five, are also without defensemen Brad Stuart and Dan
McGillis, and wingers Scott Thornton and Matt Bradley, all
sidelined by injuries.

Dallas took a 1-0 lead 2:01 after the opening faceoff when
Robidas' shot from the right point got through the pads of
Kiprusoff. Robidas' second goal of the season came on Dallas' first
shot.

"That's a team that got in late last night, so to get the first
goal was big,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "That's when the
fatigue factor comes in.''

Sergei Zubov set up the second goal, backhanding a pass off the
end boards that wound up on the stick of Morrow. Alone by the
crease, Morrow got his 17th goal with 43 seconds left in the second
period.

Arnott scored his 18th from the slot with 3:47 left on a power
play to make it 3-0.

Game notes
The Stars are 24-4-6-1 at home this season. ... Stars RW
Scott Young returned after missing a game due to a hip flexor
injury. ... Dallas LW Pierre Turgeon was scratched because of a leg
contusion and is day-to-day. ... The Stars have outscored the
Sharks 12-3 in their first four meetings this season. ... San Jose
D Rob Davison made his NHL debut. He was called up from Cleveland
of the AHL on Saturday night following the trade of Marchment to
Colorado. ...The Sharks have allowed 201 goals this season. They
gave up 199 all of last season. ... In Sunday games this season,
Tugnutt is 5-0 with a 0.80 goals-against and two shutouts.