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Ribeiro, Stefan lead Stars past Thrashers

Nov 18, 2006 - 3:39 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Mike Ribeiro and Patrik Stefan got the Dallas Stars' offense back on track.

Ribeiro scored two goals and Stefan had a tally and two assists in his return to Atlanta to lead the Stars to 5-3 triumph over the Thrashers.

Marty Turco made 20 saves for Dallas, which was 1-for-3 with the extra attacker. The Stars had scored only three goals in their previous four games prior to Friday's contest.

Atlanta's Steve Rucchin scored just 42 seconds into the contest but Dallas answered back when Matthew Barnaby tipped in a rebound past goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

"Maximum efficiency with limited effort," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "All three of them (on the Ribeiro-Stefan-Barnaby line) got goals. It was the spark we needed."

The Stars netted the next three goals to take 4-1 lead. Ribeiro scored back-to-back tallies on a tip that trickled past the pads of Lehtonen and a wraparound into a wide-open net with 3:14 to go in the period.

"We did not play much tonight, but the chances that we had, we scored," Ribeiro said. "We finished tonight. We scored on the chances we had. It's important to get on a winning streak. We tried to play simple tonight."

Ribeiro's outburst prompted Thrashers coach Bob Hartley to pull Lehtonen, who allowed three goals on seven shots, in favor of Johan Hedberg.

"It's easy to blame goalies because no one is behind them to correct their mistakes," Hartley said. "Kari has won so many games for this organization that it's unfair to blame him."

"We have to do something to wake up," Lehtonen said. "Three goals, pretty fast, it shouldn't happen. We're not there in the first period."

The Thrashers received goals midway through the third period by Glen Metropolit and Marian Hossa to cut the lead to 4-3. But Stars center Mike Modano put the game out of reach with his team-leading ninth goal with 5:35 remaining.

"They just kept scoring and we couldn't find the momentum," Hossa said.

The first overall pick of the Thrashers in 1999, Stefan returned to Atlanta after being traded on June 24. His three points were his first in seven games this season.

"I spent six years here that were very special," Stefan said. "So I'm sure I had a little extra tonight. But as soon as the puck drops, it doesn't matter where you play."

The Thrashers have lost three games in a row.

"There's no excuses in the losses we're talking about," captain Scott Mellanby said. "We can't come out and say, 'We didn't play.' That's such a copout. We just have to be better as a group."

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