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Shorthanded Canucks shoot for fourth straight

by Brian Hunter /

CANUCKS (10-7-0) at STARS (6-3-6)

Last 10 --
Vancouver 7-3-0; Dallas 4-3-3

Season series -- Second of four meetings this season. Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler scored in the shootout on Oct. 11, while Roberto Luongo stopped both attempts by the Stars in a 4-3 Canucks victory at G.M. Place. Kesler, Alexandre Burrows and Willie Mitchell had the Vancouver goals in regulation while Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas. It was one of six games the Stars have lost in either overtime or the shootout, which leads the League.

Big story --
The Canucks are currently on their second three-game win streak of the season, and this time they're doing it with Luongo sidelined due to a hairline fracture to his rib. In fact, their roster in general has been decimated by injuries, but the bodies they have been sending out on the ice are all contributing. The Stars, meanwhile, look to snap out of an 0-1-2 funk.

Team Scope:

Canucks --
Without Pavol Demitra since the start of the season and Daniel Sedin for the past several weeks, Vancouver has needed other sources of offense to step up. They got goals from tough guy Darcy Hordichuk and recently-signed Matt Pettinger on Thursday as part of a 5-2 win over Minnesota.

"You're not going to win with one line and you're not going to win with two lines," right winger Mikael Samuelsson said. "You're going to win with your whole team and that's what we did tonight. It's huge."

Stars --
Less than a minute away from a regulation win over Calgary, it suddenly went wrong for Dallas on Wednesday. First, Daymond Langkow scored with 49 seconds left to knot the score and force overtime. That's where Flames captain Jarome Iginla beat Marty Turco for the power-play winner at 1:25 and a 3-2 defeat for the Stars, who nevertheless picked up at least a point for the 12th time in 15 games.

"We're disappointed with the loss, but there are a lot of things to be positive about," coach Marc Crawford said. "I thought this was one of our best home outings for sure.  We did what we wanted to against Calgary. We really exposed their defense. I thought they were on their heels the better part of the night. I thought we were the better club in terms of chances generated, by a long shot." 

Who's hot --
Andrew Raycroft has started five straight games for Vancouver with Luongo out -- he was pulled from the second one but has gone 4-0-0 in the others, allowing just four total goals with one shutout.

Dallas forward James Neal has six goals and four assists during a seven-game points streak, while Richards has two goals and seven assists during a six-game points streak.

Injury report --
Neal is nursing a groin injury for the Stars but could still play. The Canucks are missing Demitra (shoulder), Sedin (foot), Luongo (rib) and Jannik Hansen (hand), while Steve Bernier was scratched against Minnesota due to the flu. Ryan Johnson was cleared to play following a concussion and was in the lineup for the first time in over a week.

Stat pack -- Hordichuk scored his 18th career goal in 389 games, and his first in 50 games. He set career highs for Nashville in 2005-06 with 74 games, seven goals, 13 points and 163 penalty minutes.

Puck drop --
Crawford is remaining calm about the fact his team has won just one of seven games to go beyond regulation.

"I don't want to make too much of it, not publicly," Crawford said. "I think internally, within the team, we're challenging them all the time to rise above and capture some of these points. We've let six slip away and I think that if we play with the type of intensity that we're capable of, then we’ll start to turn that tide."

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