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BRUINS 2, STARS 0

On this night, Raycroft real star

Bruin is razor sharp in shutting out Dallas

DALLAS -- It took four games but Bruins first-year coach Mike Sullivan finally has a victory.

If last night's 2-0 nail-biter over the Dallas Stars proved nothing else, it showed that Boston does indeed have a No. 1 goaltender and his name is not Felix Potvin, it's Andrew Raycroft.

For the second straight game, Raycroft -- nicknamed Razor, although he still looks too young to shave -- was sensational. The Bruins couldn't hold on in Florida Saturday night -- despite Raycroft's 34 stops -- and had to settle for a 1-1 tie against the Panthers, but in this one, Raycroft (27 saves) very much earned the first shutout of his NHL career.

It was Boston's first victory in Dallas since Feb. 16, 1994, when Jon Casey shut out the Stars, 3-0.

"We dodged a bullet, without a doubt," said Sullivan. "We played a hungry team tonight, a talented group, and I thought we had a pretty good start and had a good first period. We got on our heels a little bit in the second period. I thought our goaltender and our penalty killing gave us a chance to win."

The first 20 minutes were a veritable tug of war with both teams trying to establish something while giving up nothing. The result was a total of just nine shots, but the Bruins were able to convert one of their five into a 1-0 lead. Brian Rolston potted his first of the season at 17:09 when he took a feed from P.J. Axelsson and rapped it past goalie Marty Turco inside the left post. It was Rolston's second point of the year.

If the first period was relatively even, the second and third were pretty much all Stars, who had five of their six power plays in the last two periods.

Former Bruin Bill Guerin had some of the Stars' best scoring opportunities. During a two-on-one about eight minutes into the second, Guerin teed up a slapper from the right circle, which Raycroft stopped with his pad. Stu Barnes, with three goals in the first three games, tried to make it four in four when he fired a shot from the left circle at 13:53 into Raycroft's midsection, but the netminder held onto the puck.

The final couple of minutes were wild. With 1:37 left, center Steve Ott tried to beat Raycroft from the left circle, but was denied. With 1:02 remaining, Guerin threw a pass across the slot for Mike Modano, who was charging the right post. But Modano's shot rattled off the base of the post and ricocheted through the crease and out.

Offensively, the Bruins were bottled up. Their big line of Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, and Marty Lapointe (who was making his season debut, and career debut on the left side) had a combined four shots in the game, but nothing to show for them. The Bruins had trouble getting into the attacking zone, and once they did, the Stars didn't let them stay for long.

The Bruins made it even more difficult on themselves in the third when they gave the Stars their fifth power play of the night. Murray was whistled off for high-sticking at 9:03 (his second minor of the game) and Dallas went to work. During a flurry halfway through the man-advantage, Guerin got the puck outside the left post and had an open net. But his shot went sailing through the crease and out the other side.

Travis Green headed to the box for holding the stick at 15:24, giving Dallas power play No. 6. But it lasted just 47 seconds before it was nullified when Teppo Numminen was called for cross-checking.

The game got hairy in the final minute with Turco on the bench for an extra attacker, but the Bruins desperately fended off the pressure, and Rolston scored an empty-netter with 3.7 seconds left.

"It's huge," said Rolston. "I didn't think we played that strong in the second period, but Razor was outstanding. He kept us in the game when we struggled. It was a nice team effort. It was a big game for us to win. That team over there knows how to win, they have a lot of skill and good goaltending. Most importantly, we got a win and that was the gorilla off our back."

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