Stars rout Gretzky's Coyotes

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars were vulnerable for most of the first two periods, but they made up for their sluggish start with a furious finish to wrap up a playoff berth.

Mike Ribeiro scored two goals, Mike Modano notched the 505th of his career to extend his record for U.S.-born players, and the Stars routed the Phoenix Coyotes 6-0 on Tuesday night.

Marty Turco made 21 saves for his 30th career shutout, and the Stars also got goals from Jere Lehtinen, Ladislav Nagy and Loui Eriksson to improve to 8-1-1 in their past 10 games.

The Stars were clinging to a 1-0 lead with a little more than seven minutes left in the second period before goals by Lehtinen and Modano gave Dallas some breathing room heading into the third period.

"We just had a bad start and had a lot of turnovers," Ribeiro said. "But we created some turnovers later in the game that led to some good scoring chances. We had only four shots halfway through the game but we found a way to score. I know if we play a better team with a start like that, it will be a different story."

Dallas finished the season series against Phoenix at 7-1 to move to 98 points, two behind the first-place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.

The Stars clinched a spot in the playoffs when Colorado lost to Vancouver.

"We're trying to build for the playoffs," Turco said. "We want to win the division and be hitting on all cylinders come playoff time."

In the teams' previous meeting on Saturday night, the Stars needed a three-goal third-period rally to get to the shootout, then beat the Coyotes 4-3. Three days later, the Stars had a much easier time with the struggling Coyotes despite the fact that Phoenix was in the thick of it in the second period.

"It was a disappointing loss, but I thought two-thirds of the way through the second period we had a really nice game going," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "But Turco made some key saves when we could have tied it. They're a really good hockey club and their goalie was fabulous."

Mikael Tellqvist stopped 19 shots for the Coyotes, 2-9-2 over their past 13.

The Stars had their largest margin of victory this season despite being without three of their top six defensemen, including No. 4 scorer Philippe Boucher, who was in Quebec attending his father's funeral. Also out for Dallas were defensemen Stephane Robidas (concussion) and Darryl Sydor (hand), and center Eric Lindros (groin).

Ribeiro got the only first-period goal on a re-direct at 9:35.

Lehtinen scored his 26th of the season from close range after a Phoenix turnover at 13:13 of the second period to make it 2-0.

Modano's power-play rebound at 15:56 of the second period gave him 20 goals for the season and eight in his past 11 games to stretch Dallas' advantage to 3-0.

"We thought we were off to a slow start, but we were leading 1-0," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought we passed up some shots. After the first period, we talked about trying to get more pucks to the net."

Nagy's 12th of the season on the power play at 3:59 of the third period, Eriksson's sixth at 6:10 and Ribeiro's 16th at 10:34 extended the Stars' edge to 6-0.

Frustration set in for the Coyotes in the third period as Daniel Carcillo and Josh Gratton were assessed 10-minute misconduct penalties for complaining to the officials, with Gratton also receiving a game misconduct.

"Those guys are out of the playoffs and the game got chippy," Turco said.

Notes

Turco had his sixth shutout of the season. ...The Coyotes were shut out for the eighth time this season. ...Phoenix hasn't won a road game since Feb. 27. ...Dallas improved to 23-7-1 against the Pacific Division. ...C Steve Ott returned to the Dallas lineup after missing 25 games with an ankle injury. ...Modano reached 20 goals for the 15th time in his career.


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