With a snowstorm wreaking havoc in Big D, only 12,884 fans made it to the American Airlines Center to see the Canucks withstand a strong first period from the Stars before scoring twice to open the second as Vancouver trumped Dallas 4-1.
The Stars were riding a five game unbeaten streak coming into the first post-all-star game for both teams, but the Canucks ended that thanks to superb special teams play as they scored two goals on the power play and another shorthanded in Vancouver’s third win over Dallas this year.
Mikael Samuelsson, Christian Ehrhoff, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows all scored for the Canucks, while Cory Schneider continued his lights out play against the Stars with 25 stops; in three career games vs. Dallas, Schneider has allowed only four goals on 118 shots.
Following a dismal opening period for both teams (in which Dallas held the edge in shots 8-7), Vancouver came out flying to start the second with Samuelsson and Ehrhoff scoring back-to-back power play goals two minutes and 39 seconds apart in the first 3:05 of play to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.
Loui Eriksson put the Stars on the board less than four minutes later, but the rally was short lived as late in the period Jannik Hansen picked off a wayward puck at the Vancouver blueline and fed Kesler with a perfect saucer pass on a shorthanded 2-on-1 to restore the two-goal Canucks lead and give Kesler his team-leading 28th goal of the year.
Burrows, snake bitten on a pair of earlier scoring chances, chipped a puck past Kari Lehtonen with five minutes remaining in the game to secure the win and leave the scrappy forward one point away from 200 for his career.
“That’s another milestone, but I missed a couple in the second period, one from behind the net and the other on a three-on-two and I should have scored on those, but I was able to get another great pass by one of the twins and I was a bit lucky to get that one in,” said Burrows. “It’s the law of averages, if you keep shooting, they’re going to go in at one point.”
Burrows’ 12th goal of the season got the loudest cheer from his sister Catherine, who was at the game as part of the Vancouver’s Siblings Road Trip, which sits at a perfect 1-0. Were it not for the brothers and sisters in attendance, the arena might have been empty.
“It felt like the East Coast all over again,” laughed Burrows. “The kiss cam and all that kind of stuff going in the stands and not much fans and not much atmosphere compared to a Canadian city and obviously this is something they’re not used to with this kind of weather.”
The Stars aren’t used to this kind of a beating either. In three games this season, Vancouver outscored Dallas 15-3 with the Stars able to even the score with the Canucks only one time over that stretch.
Of all the rookies in Vancouver’s line-up, Cody Hodgson is the greenest of them all.
Hodgson, the 10th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, made his long awaited Canucks debut against the Stars and he didn’t amaze or disappoint skating with Tanner Glass and Aaron Volpatti.
That’s just what the doctor ordered for the 20-year-old, he didn’t need to make a Lee Sweatt type splash to fit in, he did just fine playing his game. His stellar play was good enough to earn the forward, who has 16 points in 28 games with the Manitoba Moose this season, time on the second power play unit alongside Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows.
Overall Hodgson played 9:52 on 15 shifts with two shots, three hits, a blocked shot and a 2-for-9 record on draws.
“I’m feeling great, healthy and strong,” Hodgson said of his game. “It’s a good feeling and it was a lot of fun out there, I really enjoyed my first game.
“It’s a dream come true to play in the National Hockey League and to be able to get that opportunity, so I just took it all in, I enjoyed it and it was a good time.”
Hodgson became the fourth player to make his NHL debut with the Canucks this season following Aaron Volpatti, Chris Tanev and Lee Sweatt and just like that trio, he was mesmerized by Vancouver’s deep roster.
“You can tell the top end guys are unbelievable on the power play here, it’s fun to watch really. Then they come through with the checking too, it’s a well-rounded team here and it’s fun to be a part of.”
Forward Aaron Volpatti left the game after playing just 2:56 on five shifts after injuring his shoulder in a collision with Jeff Woywitka; with an assist on Mikael Samuelsson's goal, Daniel Sedin extended his point streak to six games (0-7-7) and he’s now tied with Sidney Crosby for second overall in points with 66, two behind Steven Stamkos.