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Canucks end Blues' seven-game winning streak

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER - Zac Dalpe was so surprised to hear John Tortorella call his name for a shift with Daniel and Henrik Sedin that he did a double take because he didn't think his coach was serious.

Mike Santorelli wasn't at all surprised when he was dropped from that top line all the way down to Dalpe's spot on the fourth unit.

Both made the most of their new places in the lineup Friday night.

After swapping spots, Dalpe opened the scoring and Santorelli added the go-ahead goal 5:56 into the third period to help the Canucks end a five-game losing streak by beating the St. Louis Blues 2-1.

"Don't screw up, rise to the occasion a little bit and see where it takes you," Dalpe said of his mindset after being moved up to play with the Sedin twins. "Those guys make you comfortable real quick."

Santorelli, who didn't have a point in five games, was on the wrong end of the line juggling, moving from the top line to the bottom. But he scored got the game-winner by going to the net and redirecting Jason Garrison's quick shot from the top of the faceoff circles past goalie Brian Elliott on the blocker side.

"I wasn't good enough early on," Santorelli said. "Too many turnovers, so it was deserving. It doesn't matter who scores. It was good to get the two points and hopefully get things on the right track here."

Eddie Lack made 30 saves to help the Canucks (24-13-9) snap a 0-2-3 skid by beating the hottest team in the NHL. The Blues (31-8-5) had won seven in a row since a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Dec. 23.

"It stops the bleeding for a day or two," Tortorella said. "I thought after a really tentative first period we started playing better. You can see we're fighting some confidence. Hopefully this will help us."

Alex Pietrangelo scored the only goal for the Central Division-leading Blues, who lost in regulation for the first time in 11 games (9-1-1). Elliott made 20 saves but lost for the first time in his past eight starts.

"We've been scoring some goals and getting a lot of wins lately so you expect to win every night so it's tough when you don't," said Elliott, who was back in goal after Jaroslav Halak shut out the Calgary Flames 5-0 on Thursday. "We have a homestand coming to make it up."

St. Louis came to Rogers Arena having won its last four games by a combined score of 21-4. Vancouver hadn't won in 2014, going 0-2-3 in its last five games and blowing a two-goal lead in the final 1:11 of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

They looked like two teams headed in opposite directions during the early going.

"We had all our chances in the first period, when it looked like they still had the debris left over from the previous game and if we would have taken advantage of that it would have been a different game," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "On the road you have to put teams away and we left the game out there."

After seeing his club get outshot 8-1 the first 10 minutes, Tortorella shook up all four of his lines. It didn't help in the first period, when was Lack forced to make a handful of tough stops while Elliott was rarely tested, but it paid dividends 1:31 into the second when Dalpe opened the scoring with his second goal of the season.

Playing in Santorelli's spot with Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the No. 1 line, Dalpe fought off a check from Jay Bouwmeester in the right circle and tipped Daniel's shot between Elliott's legs.

"It was greasy but they all count," Dalpe said.

Elliott wasn't happy with it.

"I didn't see him take the shot, there was a couple bodies in front, but that one shouldn't go in," Elliott said.

Vancouver's new top trio was caught out and pinned in its own end after an icing when the Blues tied it six minutes later. Pietrangelo made them pay after just holding Bouwmeester's cross-ice pass onside, beating a screened Lack high on the blocker side.

But the Blues couldn't sustain any momentum.

"They're a good team, we knew they were kind of struggling," Bouwmeester said. "I don't really care how things have been going for them, but you know coming in here they are a good team. We just didn't create enough, didn't score enough goals."

Lack played a role in that.

Starting for the eighth time in nine games because of injuries to No.1 Roberto Luongo, the rookie goalie was Vancouver's best player early. The rookie turned aside Chris Stewart on a partial break three minutes in and stopped Ryan Reaves' one-timer a couple of minutes later, but his best two stops of the opening period came off Jaden Schwartz, including a glove stop on a wide-open look in the slot.

"A lot of good chances we had their goalie made saves and we don't bury them and you have to tip your hat to things like that at times," said captain David Backes, who was denied by Lack on a backdoor one-timer midway through the third period. "We created a couple 3-on-1s, backdoor plays, shots, tips, rebounds and it seemed like even when he wasn't seeing them he was finding ways to get pieces."

Lack also got a blocker on a Pietrangelo's high shot two minutes after stuffing Backes, and Vancouver, which has given up six goals with the opposing goalie pulled and seen opponents tie the score five times with sixth-attacker goals, endured a couple close calls in the final minute with Elliott on the bench. But Garrison jumped over Lack to knock away a high rebound in the dying seconds, and the Canucks hung on for the win.

"I think my heart was pounding a little bit and it feels like we've been talking about this 6-on-5 for a while now," Lack said. "I think everyone focused a little bit extra and it felt good closing it out."

Even if it wasn't always pretty.

"I'm not picking it apart," Tortorella said. "It's a big win for us."

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