Throughout the shellings, blown leads, and other indignations he's endured at Joe Louis Arena, Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco has pacified himself with one thought: "At least it's not the playoffs."
Well, now it is.
Turco is carrying an 0-7-2 record and a 3.17 goals-against average at "The Joe" into the Western Conference finals against the Red Wings starting tomorrow night in Detroit.
"This is totally a different animal," said Turco. "To say I'm looking forward to this is an understatement."
He's coming off arguably the best performance of his career, a franchise-record 61 saves in a quadruple-overtime victory that ended the second-round series against the Sharks.
"I'm not trying to erase any memories of playing against these guys at Joe Louis at all," Turco said. "I'm here to win this series, to win the next game, and, from a focus level, to make that next save."
Turco isn't much better against the Red Wings in Dallas, going 2-3-3. That's a career record of 2-10-5 against Detroit for a goalie who's 205-93-21 against everyone else.
"I really could care less if I was 0-and-100 against these guys or had never lost a game and never got scored on," Turco said. "It is totally all irrelevant at this time of year."
Maintain to containIn the first round, the Flyers put their top defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, in charge of stopping Washington star Alex Ovechkin. In the second round, the pairing of Timonen and Braydon Coburn silenced top seed Montreal.
When the Eastern Conference finals begin Friday night in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia will ask its best blue liners to contain Penguins scoring machines Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who both have a comparable skill set to Ovechkin.
"I think that Malkin right now is the best player out of those three," Timonen said. "Ovechkin is a little different player than Crosby and Malkin. I think Ovechkin is more a goal scorer than playmaker and these two guys are playmakers and can obviously score, too. They are really skilled and really good playmakers. Out of those two guys, I think Malkin has a little bit of the edge right now."
Canada slips by USDany Heatley scored the winning goal with 46.8 seconds remaining to lift Canada to a 5-4 preliminary-round victory over the US at the world hockey championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Heatley had two goals for the Canadians (3-0). Zach Parise, Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Brown, and Jason Pominville scored for the Americans (2-1).
In Quebec City, Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov each scored a goal to help Russia (3-0) defeat Denmark, 4-1. Russia will be getting a boost in net this weekend when Evgeni Nabokov joins the team after his San Jose Sharks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs Sunday night.