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Stars try to string consecutive wins against Canucks

by Davis Harper

CANUCKS (20-10-6) at STARS (16-12-5)


Last 10: Vancouver 8-1-1; Dallas 4-3-3

Season series: This is the second of three games. The Dallas Stars prevailed 2-1 against the Vancouver Canucks in the first game, at Rogers Arena on Nov. 17, behind 42 saves from Kari Lehtonen.

Big story: After having their seven-game winning streak halted with a shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, the Canucks will attempt to rebound in the second of a three-game road swing.

Dallas, coming off a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, enters the game eight points outside of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth. The Stars will try to string consecutive wins together for the first time since Nov. 13-17, when they won three straight.

Team scope:

Canucks: For the second straight game, forward Jannik Hansen gave Vancouver a first-period lead Tuesday against Minnesota. And for the second straight game, the opposing team came right back to even the score, this time on a power-play goal from Zach Parise. The goal was the first allowed by Vancouver's top-ranked penalty kill (89.5 percent) in December, a stretch of 20 straight kills.

Vancouver regained the lead only to concede it late in regulation, sending the game into overtime, then a shootout. There, Jason Pominville sealed it for Minnesota, handing Vancouver its third straight shootout loss.

"We [stink] in the shootout. Yeah, we do. We gotta try different people I guess because we stink at it," coach John Tortorella said.

Stars: In Dallas, it seems every lackluster performance is matched the next time out by an impressive meshing of talent. So it was with the home-and-home with the Avalanche earlier this week, when the Stars were hammered, 6-2, in Colorado on Monday before responding with a 3-2 win on home ice the following night.

Veteran Ray Whitney scored twice and rookie Colton Sceviour added the winner, his second goal in three games since being called up. Backup goalie Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.

"[Starting goalie Kari Lehtonen] is going through a little bit of a rough time right now. Teams that can throw in their backup and win a game, that's always good," coach Lindy Ruff said.

After Sceviour scored the eventual winner with 2:52 left, Ellis and the defense fought off a late charge from the Avalanche.

"The mad scramble around our net, that's where Dan was exceptional," Whitney said. "That would have been really crushing if they would have come down and scored after we hit the posts. But credit the guys for blocking shots and grinding it out in front.

Who's hot: Despite the shootout loss, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo continued his strong play with 30 saves. Luongo is 5-0-1 with a .958 save percentage over his past six starts. … Ellis has won his past three starts, though it's not clear which goalie Ruff will use Thursday.

Injury report: Canucks defenseman Ryan Stanton (high left ankle sprain) left the game against the Wild and is out indefinitely. Defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body), right wing Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw) and center Jordan Schroeder (sprained ankle) are out. … Stars defenseman Aaron Rome (lower body) is questionable. Center Vernon Fiddler (upper body) and defensemen Trevor Daley (sprained left ankle) and Stephane Robidas (broken leg) are on injured reserve.

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