Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Friday, February 28th
Game 2: Monday, March 31st

Sabres 0

(26-36-8, 69 pts)

Stars 3

(44-17-4, 107 pts)

8:30 PM ET, March 31, 2003

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 0 00
DAL 2 0 13

R. Matvichuk (Stars - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Turco (Stars - G): Saves: 18, Save Pct.: 1.000

B. Morrow (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Turco gets sixth shutout, nears goals-against record

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars are doing some serious scoreboard watching as they pursue the NHL's best record and home ice throughout the playoffs.

Marty Turco made 18 saves for his sixth shutout of the season as the Stars moved into a tie for the NHL's best record with a 3-0 victory Monday night over the Buffalo Sabres.

''You're always watching,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. ''We feel we can finish first. We give ourselves a chance by winning these last games.''

The Pacific Division-champion Stars have 107 points, one more than Detroit in the race for home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Vancouver, the Northwest Division leader, also is in the running for best conference record with 103 points.

The Stars pulled even with Eastern Conference leader Ottawa in the race for the NHL's top record.

Dallas, 5-0-0-2 in its past seven, has two regular-season games remaining, at home against Anaheim and Nashville. Detroit has three games left.

Turco, 4-0-0-1 since returning from an 18-game injury absence, improved to 29-10-10 on a night when tight defense limited Buffalo's scoring chances.

Turco reduced his goals-against average to a league-low 1.77. Since World War II, 1.77 has been the league's best goals-against -- done by Chicago's Tony Esposito in 1971-72, and Toronto's Al Rollins in 1950-51.

If Turco allows three goals or less and plays in 120 minutes over the final two games of the season, he'll better the mark.

''There are only two more games, so tonight we had a stepping stone and a solid effort,'' Turco said.

Martin Biron stopped 18 shots for the Sabres, whose season-best, four-game winning streak ended.

The Sabres, eliminated from playoff contention, were unable to generate much offense.

''The scoring chances were 7-7, maybe the lowest total I've ever seen,'' Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. ''There was nothing going on for either team.''

The Stars got off to a fast start with goals from Richard Matvichuk and Brenden Morrow in the opening 9:44.

Matvichuk's first of the season came on a shot from the right point that got through Biron's pads at 7:02 after Mike Modano won a faceoff. The goal was Matvichuk's first since March 20, 2002.

''I'm not out there to score goals, but it was nice to get the monkey off my back,'' Matvichuk said. ''We played our game, which is defensive hockey.''

Morrow added his career-high 21st on a deflection of Derian Hatcher's shot from the right point at 9:44.

''We wanted to get off to a good start and not let them get any momentum,'' Morrow said. ''It was an ugly game.''

Rob DiMaio added an empty-net goal with 1:00 left, his 10th.

Game notes

Stars defenseman Phillippe Boucher sustained what Tippett described as an ''upper body contusion'' in the first period. He didn't return. ... The Sabres are 1-7 in their last eight regular-season games in Dallas. ... Turco has 11 career shutouts, averaging a shutout every nine starts over his career. ... Matvichuk's last game-winning goal was on Dec. 22, 2001 at Columbus.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press