Turco grabs spotlight

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

Sean Avery was the headliner off the ice.

Marty Turco stole the show on it.

Avery, the Dallas Stars pest, was expected to be front and centre when his team faced the Calgary Flames last night, mainly because of his penchant for opening his mouth.

He didn't get the chance, suspended indefinitely by the NHL for off-colour comments made after the morning skate.

Turco, on the other hand, stepped forward for all the right reasons, backstopping his team to a 3-1 victory over what was a hot Calgary club.

"We weren't oblivious to what happened today. It's something you have to talk about. Players and teammates -- you can't just bury it," said Turco, who made 36 saves.

"There's a lot of pride in here to go out there and do that, with all the injuries, the position we're in in the standings, and what happened, my hat's off to the boys."

Avery's comments after the morning skate -- aimed at Dion Phaneuf and his girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert -- put the emotion level on high.

His subsequent suspension for his disparaging words, however, appeared to have taken the life out of the night, when so many were expecting to see all kinds of fireworks.

The Flames lacked zip before the sellout Saddledome crowd of 19,289, even though they outplayed the Stars by a wide margin.

"We did have the opportunities," said Flames coach Mike Keenan. "We didn't have the next level of being sharp, for lack of a better word, in terms of our execution.

"I saw us miss many nets. Marty had a solid game stopping 36 shots, but we missed 12 opportunities. We could have had a 50-shot night if we were sharp."

The Flames (14-10-1) had their winning streak snapped at three games by a Stars team (9-11-4) sitting last in the Western Conference despite winning two straight.

Toby Petersen, Fabian Brunnstrom and Loui Eriksson tallied for Dallas.

David Moss, by far the best of the Flames with an eight-shot night, replied for the hosts.

"We came out a little sluggish, but (Turco) made some great saves and kept them in it," Moss said. "We couldn't seem to find that second one when we really needed it."

Should that come as a shock with Turco's history between the pipes? His career record against the Flames is a sparkling 13-6-3.

"He's a very good goaltender -- has been for a long time -- and he gets hot," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "Against certain teams you have extra confidence, and he's played well against us."

Calgary next embarks on a four-game road trip, which begins Friday in St. Louis.


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