Turco steals win for Stars

Through 40 minutes of Monday’s
matchup with the Dallas Stars, there was one thing keeping the Washington
Capitals
from a blowout victory: Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

Turco had 41 saves on 43 shots after
two periods and held his team in the game long enough to give them a chance to
come back and beat the Capitals in a shootout, 4-3. The win halted a 13-game home
winning streak for the Capitals, who hadn’t lost at Verizon Center since Dec.
28 against Carolina.

It took an extraordinary effort from Turco to contain an
offense that threw 52 shots at him, the team’s highest total since 2005.

“We needed a great goaltending performance tonight and Marty
[Turco] was terrific,” Stars Head Coach Marc Crawford said.

Though he gave up goals to Tom Poti and Alex Ovechkin in
the first two periods, Turco did everything in his power to give his team a
chance to fight back going into the third period.

They
did.

Two
early power plays presented a window of opportunity for the Stars to get on the
board, and Brad Richards and Trevor Daley would both convert. All of the sudden
the two teams were tied, despite a large discrepancy in shots on goal.

“They
[Dallas] came on [in the third period] and thought, ‘hey, we’re still in the
game,’” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Once they got the first one
in, I knew it was going to be a dog fight.”

Three minutes after Daley’s goal, James Neal beat
Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov (23 saves) with a wrist shot to give the
Stars their first lead of the night.

Ovechkin would tie the game with just under four minutes
remaining by driving down the left wing, cutting to the slot, and ripping a
snap shot past Turco’s glove for his second goal of the night.

The two teams would remain tied until the shootout, when
Turco was again tremendous. He stopped four Washington shooters and Loui
Eriksson scored in the fifth round to give the Stars an important two points in
the Western Conference playoff race. Eriksson may have scored the winner, but
it was Turco’s night from start to finish.

“I don’t mind saying he has to be our best player
probably on those nights,” Richards said. “We don’t have the talent to
match up with them line for line, player for player so that’s when some nights
it should be called ‘goalie’ not ‘hockey.’”

Ovechkin’s goals were his first two in six games and his
first since the Olympic break, and Boudreau said that he had his “energy back”
after a couple games of “waiting for the game come to him.”

Despite the loss, Capitals center Eric Belanger felt
encouraged by how the team played, even with what Boudreau called a “hiccup” in
the third period.

“When you get over 50 something shots, you’re doing a lot
of good things,” Belanger said. “As an example, we were all around their net
all night and it [puck] was just bouncing over the stick. When the goalie’s on
and controls the rebound pretty good, I don’t think we could have done more
than we did.”

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