DALLAS (AP) -Brenden Morrow is a grinder, not a shootout expert, but the Dallas captain came through in the sixth round of the tiebreaker to deliver a victory for the Stars.
Morrow had a goal and an assist in regulation before beating Roberto Luongo on Morrow's second career shootout attempt and the Stars extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
"I'm terrible at it in practice," Morrow said. "I'm a traditionalist, so I'm still not used to having a skills competition deciding a game. I'll admit it's exciting, but it's not my thing. But when I'm called upon, I feel comfortable doing it."
Jussi Jokinen got the shootout underway for Dallas by beating Roberto Luongo, but Markus Naslund answered in the first round for Vancouver.
Neither team could convert in the next four rounds until Morrow went high with a shot that got past Luongo and glanced off the crossbar and into the net. That helped the Stars improve to 5-2 in shootouts this season and 26-7 in the three-year history of the tiebreaker.
Morrow, who converted his only other career shootout try on Oct. 15, 2006 to beat Anaheim, noticed that Luongo crouched low to stop Dallas' Niklas Hagman in the fifth round. So Morrow decided to lift the puck on his shot.
"I knew I wanted to go high and I wanted to make sure I put it on net," Morrow said.
Said Luongo: "When the guy puts it off the bar, there's not much you can do. It was a great shot."
Marty Turco denied Taylor Pyatt in Vancouver's chance in the sixth round, assuring the Dallas victory. Turco stopped 22 shots overall.
"It's just 'mano a mano', and you just read and react and try to make stops," Turco said.
Jere Lehtinen added a power-play goal for the Stars, who stretched their Pacific Division lead to four points over the San Jose Sharks.
Naslund scored twice for the slumping Canucks, who have lost four in a row and are 1-5-3 in their last nine games.
The Stars returned home following an unbeaten three-game trip through Western Canada that included a 4-3 win over the Canucks on Jan. 29. Turco got the decision in all three victories.
Lehtinen gave the Stars a 2-1 lead with his power-play goal at 7:11 of the second period, steering Morrow's centering pass through the pads of Luongo.
The goal was Lehtinen's seventh of the season and first in three games since returning to the lineup after missing 23 games with an abdominal injury.
"Lehtinen is coming around," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "He's getting his timing back and getting more comfortable again."
Turco was down for a few minutes at 7:45 of the second period after teammate Jeff Halpern was pushed into the goalie by Vancouver's Matt Cooke. Turco was struck in the face, but he got back on his feet after being attended to by medical personnel and returned to his position while Cooke skated to the penalty box for roughing.
|Dallas Stars center Steve Ott (29) attempts a shot on goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo in the first period in Dallas on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)|
Naslund tied it at 2 at 18:47 of the second period with his 19th of the season, flipping a sharp-angled shot from the edge of the left circle past a sprawling Turco, who had lost his stick.
Dallas tied it at 1 when Morrow's shot from the left circle banked in off the skate of Vancouver's Alex Burrows at 16:40 of the first period, Morrow's team-high 23rd goal.
The Canucks remain shorthanded on defense. Mattias Ohlund was back in Vancouver for personal reasons and Aaron Miller is out with a foot injury. Vancouver is also without defensemen Willie Mitchell (back), Kevin Bieksa (calf) and Lukas Krajicek (shoulder), forcing the Canucks to go with youngsters on the blue line.
"It's not an excuse," Luongo said. "It doesn't matter who you play back there. I wish (reporters) would stop asking me that. The young guys did a good job stepping up."
The Canucks got one bit of good news for their defense when Sami Salo returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with a groin injury.
Notes: The Stars are still without two key defensemen: Sergei Zubov (groin, foot) and Philippe Boucher (shoulder). Both are practicing with the team, but there is no timetable for their return. ... Lehtinen's previous goal was last Nov. 19 against Los Angeles. ... The Canucks have lost their last seven regular-season games in Dallas. ... Vancouver is 4-7 in shootouts this season.