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Canucks attempt to cool off surging Stars

by Dave Lozo
STARS (35-26-5) at CANUCKS (41-17-8)


Last 10:
Dallas 7-1-2; Vancouver 6-2-2

Season Series:
This is the second of four meetings. The Stars won 3-2 in overtime on Feb. 26 in Dallas. Their final three meetings come between now and March 30.

Big Story: The Canucks want the top seed the West; the Stars are fighting for any seed in the West. Vancouver is in a fight for first place with the Blues and Red Wings, who are both one point back. Meanwhile, the Stars have surged into seventh place in the West behind their 7-1-2 run. They are tied with first-place Phoenix in the Pacific, pending the outcome of the Coyotes' game with the Penguins on Monday. If the Coyotes lose in regulation, the Stars take over first place.

Team Scope:

Stars: It took a shootout to get the win, but the Stars' 3-2 victory against the Flames gave them some breathing room at the bottom of the playoff picture. Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson scored in the shootout, while the red-hot Kari Lehtonen stopped both Flames shooters.

"It's always nice to get the extra point," Eriksson said. "For sure, it's big right now. It's so tight in the conference. That point can really help us a lot. Benner had a great move there and he got the first goal. I tried the five-hole move and it worked today. It was a good one."

Facing the sizzling Sabres, the Canucks couldn't overcome a horrid start. The Sabres scored three goals in the first 5:10 to chase goaltender Roberto Luongo and hung on for the 5-3 victory.

Luongo took the brunt of the blame for the loss afterward.

"The third one was a perfect shot, gotta give the guy credit, but I gotta be better on the first two," he said. "There's no excuse for that, I gotta make that (first) save. I'm not quite sure what happened on the second goal, gotta review it, but I gotta make better plays on those two goals."

Who's Hot:
Eriksson has 4 goals and 5 assists in his last six games for the Stars.

Injury Report:
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow (neck/back) and forward Jake Dowell (finger) are on injured reserve. …  The Canucks are without forward Andrew Ebbett (collarbone) and defenseman Keith Ballard (concussion).

Stat Pack: The Stars haven't won in Vancouver since Jan. 4, 2009, a span of five games. Marty Turco was the winning goaltender and Mike Modano had a goal and an assist.

Puck Drop:
"We're just playing simple hockey and coming together as a group to win these games and that's what we need right now," Benn said of the Stars' recent success. "Definitely, coming down the stretch, we need as many points as we can get and we're getting them."
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