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Associated Press
11/22/2006 11:27:18 PM


DALLAS (AP) - Jeff Halpern broke up a shutout duel at 4:11 of the third period to send the Dallas Stars to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.

Niklas Hagman's shot went wide of the net and the puck pinballed off the end boards and onto the stick of Halpern to the left of the Nashville goal. Halpern popped his third goal of the season into an open net vacated when Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun tried to play the puck behind the net.

Stars rookie Mike Smith stopped 17 shots for his second shutout in his fourth career start, improving his record to 4-1.

Smith was the goalie of record on Monday night, coming on in relief of regular starter Marty Turco in the first period; Turco gave up two goals on the first five shots then, but the Stars rallied behind Smith for a 5-4 victory over Colorado.

Smith also had a little luck on his side when David Legwand of Nashville saw a shot ring off the right goalpost with about 10 minutes left.

Vokoun made 25 saves for the Predators, who had been riding a 4-0-1 streak over their previous five games. Vokoun made a big stop on Dallas' Mike Ribeiro from close range with 1:56 left to deny the Stars' bid for a second goal.

The Stars are 8-1-1 against the Predators in their last 10 meetings.

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