Marty Turco made 61 saves Sunday to earn a six-game series win over San Jose. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Never again let it be suggested Marty Turco is not a dependable playoff goaltender.
Not after Sunday’s (and technically Monday’s) miraculous individual performance. No, those days are gone. Long gone.
Even after last year’s sterling three-shutouts-in-one-round performance, there were still doubts about his ability to carry a team because the Stars were defeated in the first round. In other words, numbers don’t count; wins do.
And win Turco did.
With his teammates clearly running out of gas, Turco stood tall. There were times during the game when I wondered if they expected him to snag the puck, carry it up the ice and score the winner himself. My guess is, Turco wondered the same thing. In any event, Stars captain Brenden Morrow ended the marathon about two hours before the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto (sorry about the local reference) re-opened (my pathway home, if you will). For the record, Morrow is my new hero.
Anyway, Turco wins and he immediately becomes the answer to our next trivia question: Can he lead the Stars past the Wings? Given his play through two rounds, the answer is a resounding yes! Until the games start, naturally.
Looking ahead, the Red Wings will be huge favorites in the Western Conference final. The Stars looked dead in the water through most of overtime Sunday, so how can anybody expect them to beat the best team in the league?
The answer is Turco. Muddle through poor play, long stretches of non-scoring chances and questionable defensive protection. Turco will save the day.
Imagine going from being a playoff question mark to a Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
Two rounds to go, but I’d put my money on Turco.
THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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