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Associated Press
12/16/2006 7:53:30 PM


LOS ANGELES (AP) - After blowing an early two-goal lead, the Dallas Stars needed their captain to send the game into overtime. Once it got to a shootout, Marty Turco saved the day again.

Brenden Morrow scored the tying goal on a power play with 4:58 left in the third period, Mike Ribeiro had the only goal in the shootout and Turco made 33 saves in regulation, leading Dallas to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

"When we needed that extra push to get what we wanted out of the game, it was there. And that's something we can build off of," Morrow said. "It was a good character-building game for us. We're a team that's kind of treading water right now, scrapping and clawing and finding ways to win."

Ribeiro was the third shooter for Dallas, after teammate Jussi Jokinen and Kings rookie Anze Kopitar each hit the left post in the second round. The Stars are 15-1 in shootouts since the NHL instituted the tiebreaking format at the start of last season. They have won their three shootouts this season.

"I think it's because we have people that generally score, and our goaltender has been very solid," coach Dave Tippett said. "The goaltender gets overlooked sometimes because the scorers tend to get all the attention in the shootout. But you have to have strong goaltending."

Philippe Boucher and Stu Barnes scored first-period goals for Dallas on assists from Jeff Halpern. Sergei Zubov had two assists and became the third European-born defenceman with 700 career points, joining Sweden's Borje Salming and Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Stars are 5-0 against the Kings this season and 11-1-0 against Pacific Division rivals altogether, the league's best record by any team within its own division. Los Angeles dropped to 5-12-1 against Pacific Division clubs - despite road victories this month against Anaheim and San Jose.

"Our record is good, but we've had some tough games against them," Barnes said.

Sean Avery had a goal and an assist for Los Angeles. Dustin Brown and Rob Blake also scored for the Kings, who outshot Dallas 36-31. They are only 5-9 when getting 35 or more shots on net.

"We were down 2-0, but we took it to a shootout and gave ourselves a chance to win," Kings captain Mattias Norstrom said. "They really took it to us in the first period, but I'm impressed with how we responded. We really turned the tables on them, outshot them and took over the play."

Blake put the Kings ahead 3-2 with 7:42 left in regulation. But Morrow got the equalizer less than three minutes later, beating rookie goaltender Barry Brust high to the glove side with a 40-foot wrist shot from the slot while Brown was serving a charging penalty.

The Kings have allowed at least one power-play goal in nine straight games, and their opponents are 15-for-43 during that stretch.

Dallas came in having allowed only nine goals in 93 short-handed situations on the road. But their 2-0 lead was cut in half at 6:09 of the second period on Brown's goal just 12 seconds after Trevor Daley went off for tripping Alexander Frolov. Avery tied it with 17:03 left in regulation on a slap shot from the top of the right circle.

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