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Canucks finish trip with another victory

by Brian Compton
The Vancouver Canucks are going home with seven of a possible eight points on their four-game road trip.

Daniel Sedin broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 2:38 of the third period and Roberto Luongo made 31 saves as the Canucks finished 3-0-1 on the trip with a 3-1 victory against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Saturday afternoon.

Vancouver (25-16-1) heads home to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in the first of a four-game homestand. The successful road trip has the Canucks just one point behind the first-place Colorado Avalanche in the Northwest Division.

Much of that has to with Luongo, who was sensational on Saturday. The Canucks' captain stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period to help Sedin's tally stand up.

''I think a lot of it starts with goaltending,'' Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. ''Roberto, when he gets on a roll like he is now just gives everybody that extra boost of confidence.''

Luongo preserved the lead with a tremendous save on Loui Eriksson in the final minute of regulation and robbed Mike Modano on a one-timer with just over six minutes to go.

''I actually didn't see (Modano's shot) and it was kind of a desperation play by me,'' Luongo said. ''I didn't even see the shot go off or the puck, I just put my leg out there and was able to get my skate on it. It was just a reaction and fortunately I got a piece of it.''

Eriksson scored the lone goal for Dallas, which came 37 seconds into the third period. It was his fifth goal in three games and 17th of the season. Marty Turco made 24 saves in the loss.

Ryan Kesler -- who was named to the U.S. Olympic team on Friday -- opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season just 90 seconds into the second period. With the teams at even strength, Kesler took a pass from Mason Raymond and ripped a wrist shot past Turco to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.

Dallas captain Brenden Morrow thought he'd erased the one-goal deficit on a power play at 18:51 of the second period, when the puck went in off his right skate during a pileup in front of the net.

Luongo argued with the officials and requested a video review. After a delay of roughly five minutes, it was ruled that Morrow had used a kicking motion to put the puck into the net. Morrow argued that his skate had been pushed by Eriksson's stick.

''The way the rule stands, I propelled it into the net,'' Morrow said. ''I think Loui ended up shooting my skate out from under me. The way the rule is, I don't think they really made a mistake. I know from past experience what the rule is. I don't think (the review) needed to be that long. In my mind it was pretty obvious.''

Vancouver was playing its second game without defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who underwent surgery on Thursday after suffering a cut above his left ankle on Tuesday at Phoenix and is expected to miss three months. Nonetheless, the Canucks were able to finish their trip in successful fashion.

''We got seven out of a possible eight points, so I'm real happy with the overall road trip,'' Vigneault said. ''The third period was more challenging, but that's why you pay the goalie the big bucks, to make the big saves, and he did.''

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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