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Stars hope to gain ground on Canucks

by Brian Compton
STARS (29-14-5) at CANUCKS (29-10-9)

TV: Fox Sports-Southwest, SNET-P.

Last 10: Dallas 7-2-1; Vancouver 4-2-4.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Vancouver earned a 4-1 victory against Dallas on Dec. 31 at the American Airlines Center.

Big Story: This is a statement game for the Stars, who can pull within two points of first place in the Western Conference with a regulation victory against the Canucks. Dallas has earned points in eight of its last 10 games and has built a five-point lead in the Pacific Division.

"Everybody is contributing something and that's so important," said Jamie Langenbrunner, who was acquired from New Jersey on Jan. 7. "If you're going to go through a big run, you're going to need everybody to be pulling. It's usually not your superstar players that have to do it for you night in and night out. It's going to be guys down the lineup that contribute in big ways whether it's blocking shots or a big backcheck. That's the way it's going to have to continue if you want to be a championship-caliber team."

Team Scope:

Stars: After reeling off five consecutive victories, Dallas suffered a setback on Friday night in a 7-4 loss at Calgary. The Stars allowed more goals in the loss than they had in the previous five games combined, and it was their first regulation loss of 2011 (7-1-1).

"It's just a little uncharacteristic of the way we've played, especially on the road with this winning streak," said captain Brenden Morrow, who scored a goal, "making some bad reads, turning some pucks over in bad areas and not getting in shooting lanes and they put a few in because of that."

Canucks: Vancouver lost in controversial fashion Saturday night, when Alex Tanguay beat Roberto Luongo in the shootout on a goal that required video review.

"I really believe that as we move forward this is going to make us a better team," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said after the 4-3 loss to the Flames at Rogers Arena. "You've got to be able to play in these and you've got to be able to make the plays at the right time and I think that this is going to make us better. We lost the game in a shootout. We didn't lose it in the 65 minutes."

Who's Hot: Stars forward Mike Ribeiro had three assists Friday night and extended his point streak to 11 games. He has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) during that span. James Neal has seven goals in nine games. … Luongo hasn't lost in regulation in 15 games (10-0-5).

Injury Report: Stars center Toby Petersen out with a leg injury. … Vancouver will be without Andrew Alberts (shoulder), Aaron Rome (knee), Alex Bolduc (shoulder), Sami Salo (ACL) and Rick Rypien (personal reasons). Vancouver will also likely be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa due to a swollen eye suffered Saturday night against Calgary.

Stat Pack: Six Canucks forwards are suffering from personal scoring droughts: Mikael Samuelsson (14 games), Mason Raymond (11), Manny Malhotra (12), Jannik Hansen (10), Jeff Tambellini (13) and Raffi Torres (12).

Puck Drop: "There is a great group of leaders here. Just because you've won doesn't mean you're put on a pedestal. These guys have done a lot of good things and are doing a lot of good things here in building this team. There will be times just like there was when Guy Carbonneau or Mike Keane stepped up, said something or did something in the game that changed the course of the game. That's the way teams are built and championship teams are built." -- Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner

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