For the third time in just over a month, the Vancouver Canucks
made beating the Dallas Stars
Mikael Samuelsson and Christian Ehrhoff scored power-play goals on Tuesday as the Canucks routed the Stars 4-1 at American Airlines Center. Vancouver also got a shorthanded goal from Ryan Kesler and a goal by Alex Burrows, while Daniel Sedin added two assists to help the Canucks move into first place in the overall standings.
"We're on a game-to-game basis," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We're happy with the win tonight against a real good opponent."
It was the third time in the last 33 days that the Canucks dominated the Stars. They've won all three meetings this season by a combined score of 15-3. The biggest weapon has been the power play -- Vancouver is 8-for-15 in the three games, while Dallas is just 1-for-13, including 0-for-5 on Tuesday.
"I think special teams are huge in the NHL these days and for some reason, we've been really good against Dallas this year," said Burrows, who scored for the third straight game. "All three games, our special teams have played awesome, with big goals at key moments and the penalty killers have been doing the job. For some reason it seems to work against them."
After a scoreless first period, the Canucks scored twice on power plays in the first 3:05 of the second to take control.
Samuelsson sizzled a wrist shot from the right circle over the glove hand of Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen and just under the crossbar 26 seconds into the period for his 10th goal of the season.
Vancouver needed just eight seconds on the power play for its second goal, a slap shot by Ehrhoff from the right point that beat Lehtonen over the glove.
"They got a lot of weapons and our biggest thing going into the game was not to give them a lot of power-play chances and we took some silly (penalties), myself included," said Dallas' Adam Burish, who was in the penalty box for Ehrhoff's goal. "That makes it hard to play against them, because when they're on the power play, if you give them one chance or two chances, they're going to find a way to make a difference in the game."
Lehtonen made a big save on Dan Hamhuis, and on the return rush, Loui Eriksson connected for Dallas at 6:22, firing a wrist shot from the slot past goalie Cory Schneider on a 2-on-1 rush for his 18th of the season.
But with the Stars on a power play, Kesler made it 3-1 at 14:25 with his 28th goal of the season, taking a cross-ice pass from Jannik Hansen and re-directing it past Lehtonen on a 2-on-1 break.
"We were in the game there, but the short-handed goal, it's tough to swallow," said Dallas center Brad Richards, who had an assist. "It hit Loui's stick and just exploded. It wasn't like we were out of position, we had our position, it's just one of those things. For some reason, in three games, they've gotten those bounces, we haven't.
Burrows ended any Dallas hopes by scoring his 12th of the season with 5:03 remaining.
The Stars dropped to 1-3-0 in their last four games.
"We had our opportunities tonight and we got to take responsibility for not jumping on the opportunities that we had," coach Marc Crawford said. "Special teams are so important and that was the difference tonight."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report