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Stargazing: Surging Stars Hit Break with 3-0 Shutout of Coyotes

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Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and NHL news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.

The Stars shutout the Coyotes in Glendale on Saturday, 3-0, and thus finish the abbreviated month of February with a record of 4-1-1. They outscored their opponents 18-8 in that stretch, recording two shutouts and a GAA of 1.33. Scoring 3 goals per game helps, but let's be honest: It was the Marty Turco show that has now made March hockey meaningful in Dallas, when we all feared it might not be. He's stopped 208 of the last 215 shots he's faced, and if not for that unfortunate Brenden Morrow slam dunk in Calgary, he'd have back-to-back shutouts.

Joe Nieuwendyk all but said that the teams play on the road trip would dictate what kind of trade deadline they had. Whether or not the fire-sale is now off is something we'll talk about at length during the Olympics. For now it's just nice to see that the Stars did their part. They can go on their vacations and come back recharged, looking forward to continuing their push.

As for the game itself, I thought the Stars were doomed about halfway through the 1st period. The penalties were going to kill them, I was sure of it. Particularly the 5-on-3. Give credit to the Stars penalty killers and Marty for surviving the first period in what was a surprisingly hostile environment given the fact that the Coyotes have 13 times this season drawn crowds of less than 10,000.

So I guess everyone is pretty upset this morning about what happened last night. I totally agree, btw: These fights that come after perfectly clean hits have got to stop.

After the jump, Dave Tippett's thought's on that hot-button issue and more...

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The Arizona Republic brings you our ex-leaders' reaction:

That hit pushed the Coyotes' hot button, but they were unable to follow through and dropped a 3-0 decision to the Stars in front of an announced crowd of 16,734 on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.

"The league, all I've heard for months is how we're bearing down on head shots," Tippett said. "Well, that's a clear head shot. . . . It's a hit to the head, and you have a guy that's basically knocked out cold.

"Again, it just baffles me. When you have referees looking right at it, and they tell you that's not a bad hit, and you've got a guy laying on the ice unconscious. That just baffles me."

There's nothing wrong with the coach saying that. That's what coaches are supposed to say. Everyone else...well there are replays out there that show the truth. The game was in HD in Dallas and I saw it (the truth) about 25 times on the broadcast. If people want to ignore it, that's their prerogative.

We all hope that Prucha is ok.

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Let's go over to Puck Daddy, who names Marty their #1 Star:

No. 1 Star: Marty Turco, Dallas Stars

Wait, so did the Dallas Stars trade for Kari Lehtonen just to turn Marty Turco into a brick wall in the crease? Turco shut out the Phoenix Coyotes for the second time in a week, making 40 saves in a 3-0 road victory. Brandon Segal, Jamie Benn and Toby Petersen had the goals for the Stars.

And calls attention to Neals' finishing of his clean check:

Elsewhere, a scary moment occurred during the Phoenix-Dallas game when Coyotes forward Petr Prucha(notes) was hit into the boards by James Neal(notes) early in the first period. Prucha flew into the boards and was knocked out for seven minutes. (H/T 5-Hole for the clip.)

Prucha regained consciousness and was was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. According to Coyotes PR man Sergey Kocharov, Prucha was released from a local hospital after being evaluated and his day-to-day with an "upper body injury."

The hit of the night was the Cam Janssen hit, that's discussed at length there. No one seems to concerned with Neal/Prucha for whatever reason.

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Mike Heika recaps the standings situation:

The Dallas Stars are officialy in ninth place according to the NHL standings.

They were briefly in eighth place, but Calgary leap-frogged them with a 3-1 win over Anaheim.

It appears that's where Dallas will stay for the length of the Olympic Break, despite some games on Sunday.

The Stars and Detroit Red Wings have identical records right now.

The first tiebreaker is wins, and the Stars have actually climbed up to where they are tied with Detroit. The second tiebreaker is head-to-head, and Dallas has a 2-1-0 record against the Red Wings this seaosn.

Thanks a lot, Anaheim.

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Mark Stepneski calls attention to something we're probably overlooking from last night:

Marc Crawford moved Jamie Benn back to wing on a line with center Mike Ribeiro at center and Brenden Morrow on the other wing. That line was very good. Benn’s been great and productive lately. Ribeiro’s been outstanding since he’s returned from injury. Having a second, productive line will make the Stars that much tougher and take some of the heat off the top line.

That Ribeiro to Benn goal was a thing of absolute beauty. The pass was great, but the finish was better. I was surprised to see it in the net. I should have realized Benn's magic hands were going to corral that thing.

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Head over to Five for Howling for the most entertaining post game on the web:

Basically I give all the credit to the Coyotes imploding and none to the Stars for much of anything. Marty Turco may as well be lumped in with Neal for being a punk. Not satisfied to just let Shane Doan get up and skate away after getting knocked down in the crease. He got a roughing call for hitting Doan several times including once in the head. The Coyotes didn't take any quality shots and the bounces didn't go their way. The Stars got a couple lucky bounces and got one quality goal though the scoreboard said 3-0.

Maybe you guys in the comments can figure out which of the Petersen and Benn goals they're considering to be a "bounce." Both looked like pretty heady skill plays to me.

When teams don't score on nearly 2 minutes of 5-on-3, I wonder what the winning percentage is league wide. I bet it's not good.

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Quotes, courtesy Dallas Morning News:

Brandon Segal:

``You couldn't ask for a better game than that, but one game doesn't make a season or a career, so we've got to keep on going,'' Segal said. ``Coming into Phoenix tonight, I knew what was at stake. You've got guys who can make plays and smart decisions on the ice. It's fun coming into a new team and seeing what they're all about.''

Marty Turco:

``It just helps to be stable and under control when you're on the ice, instead of fighting to see it. I'm trusting that those guys are going to make the blocks. I just stay on my feet and wait to see what happens. It's a trust thing, and it pays off when you're stable and can see it longer, you can react better.''

Marc Crawford:

``He responds to being pushed very well, and that's great for us,'' coach Marc Crawford said. ``He made a great save in the first period, and those are the ones that when they go in, they suck energy out of your team. Tonight, we were buyoed by the fact we got that good early save.''

``He had one foul up and we were a little fortunate on that one,'' Crawford said. ``It's funny how that happens. When things are going bad, the foul up ends up in your net. When things are going good, it bounces on the guy.''

``Nobody likes to see somebody get hurt, it was terrible and scary,'' Crawford said. ``But (Neal) took him and he didn't even finish his check. It was all head on the glass.''

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One last note on Loui Eriksson's injury last night:

Loui Eriksson was hit hard and suffered a cut on his face, but he will be fine for the Olympics. Jere Lehtinen missed the game witha severe cut on his knee, but also will be fine for the Olympics. Brenden Morrow and Karlis Skrastins also will play at the Olympics.