Even the Stars' US$22.8 million man needs a little help from his friends now and then.
Goalie Marty Turco, fresh off signing a four-year extension Thursday, had one of his worst periods of the season. He allowed three goals on Anaheim's first six shots and was not comfortable, playing pucks hesitantly and struggling to find a rhythm. Stars coach Dave Tippett benched him after the first, with the Stars down by three.
But Turco's teammates bailed him out in a 4-3 shootout victory that had a sellout crowd of 18,532 at American Airlines Center on its feet. Turco cheered as well, sporting a Stars cap instead of his mask, and bobbing up and down from his stool behind the bench.
What he saw was a Stars team that seized momentum and never let it go through the final 40 minutes of regulation, overtime and the shootout. It was the second consecutive game the Stars were able to overcome a third-period deficit.
The Stars became aggressive on the forecheck, led by gritty forward Brenden Morrow.
He grabbed loose pucks in the corners and circled back toward the net to receive passes. He generated a turnover at center ice early in the third on an Anaheim power play and scored the Stars' first short-handed goal in 20 games.
Morrow tied it late, keeping the puck in the offensive zone and then positioning himself in front of the crease to tap in a rebound.
Dallas won when Antti Miettinen, the fourth shooter in the shootout, scored in sudden death.
"Marty has bailed us out many times this season," said Philippe Boucher, who returned to the lineup after missing 12 of the last 14 with a broken finger. "The least we could do was win this one for him."
They don't win it without backup goalie Johan Hedberg. He joked that a pregame nap had him ready to go. He was wide awake as the Mighty Ducks looked to put the Stars away after taking a 3-0 lead. But Hedberg stopped all 16 shots that came his way (except for what turned out to be a harmless shootout goal). He played pucks behind the net to help his defenders and even poke-checked away the puck on a one-on-one breakaway attempt by Todd Marchant in the third period.
"He's been a rock for us all year," said Turco, smiling and looking relieved after the game. "It's such a luxury to have a guy like him. I don't know why, but I wasn't getting it done. It's not fair to the team. But he did the job."
Turco will have to do the job on the road today if the Stars are to beat Detroit for the first time since January 16, 2002. He may even need some more help from his friends.
Sidney Crosby is not the only rookie paying dividends for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In a 6-4 win over Montreal on Tuesday, every Penguins goal was netted by a rookie. Crosby and Michel Ouellet had two each, and Shane Endicott and Maxime Talbot scored one apiece.
It was the first time in more than 20 years, and only the fifth time since the 1943-44 NHL season, that a team had as many as six goals in a game all scored by rookies.
What made it even more special for Crosby was the fact that it happened in his first game in Montreal against the Canadiens, the team he grew up idolizing.
"If you're too awe-struck, you get caught watching, you get caught being happy to be there and you're not worrying about trying to contribute and then make the difference," Crosby said.
"Don't get me wrong, it's nice to enjoy the moment, but you don't want to get caught up in watching too much and getting stuck out there, so I think the best part for me was probably at the end, getting the win. It was a bonus to come out with the first star."
The Canadiens were the last team to pull off the rookie feat when they did it in an 11-6 loss at Hartford on October 19, 1985.
In other NHL action: Carolina 4, NY Islanders 1; Philadelphia 3, Washington 1; Atlanta 6, Pittsburgh 4; Detroit 3, Nashville 1; Calgary 1, Toronto 0.