Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Canucks Set Record With Win Over Stars

For the first time in club history, the Vancouver Canucks have rattled off ten wins in a row on home ice. Tuesday night, the Canucks moved into a tie for 4th place in the Western Conference standings as they doubled up the visiting Dallas Stars 4-2 at GM Place.

Stars goalie Marty Turco looked early on that he'd be tough to beat as he came up with some good stops in the opening five minutes, the best being a hi-lite reel stick save off of Steve Bernier while the Canucks worked a power play. Eventually Turco wound up being beat on a lucky bounce for the home team. While on the man advantage, Daniel Sedin was able to slid the puck towards the slot for a team mate. However it wound up deflecting off the skate of Stephane Robidas and underneath Turco. Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa get the assists on Daniel's first goal in 11 games. His team-leading 26th of the campaign came at 6:33.

Dallas pulled level before the intermission break with a power play goal of their own. Robidas let a point shot go that wound up being deflected out of the air by James Neal and past Roberto Luongo. Neal continues his strong rookie season with his 23rd of the year at 16:48.

Ryan Kesler got Vancouver back into the lead with a beautiful individual effort in the middle period. Mats Sundin fed a pass through the neutral zone for Pavol Demitra. His quick drop pass found Kesler breaking through the Dallas defence. His move to the back hand gave Turco no chance as his shot snuk its way under the cross bar. Kesler nets his 21st of the year at 6:55 and it extends his point scoring streak to four straight games.

Just past the midway point, Kesler had a hand in setting up what proved to be the game-winning goal. On the power play, Kesler poked the puck free from behind the net for Kyle Wellwood in the right corner. His pass to the top of the crease found a wide open Sundin. He made no mistake beating Turco through the pads for his 9th of the season. It was also his 2nd game winning goal of the season and it came at 10:21.

The Stars had a golden opportunity early on in the third period to get back into the game while working on a 5-on-3 power play for just under a minute. However Luongo and the Canucks penalty killers did a strong job to keep the home team in a two-goal lead.

Steve Ott was able to get the visitors to within one on a re-direct in front of the Vancouver captain. Mike Ribeiro and Chris Conner get the helpers on Ott's 16th of the season at 8:12. However that would be the last goal scored by the Stars as the Canucks put the game out of reach with a fantastic passing play on the rush. Just as Dallas d-man Nicklas Grossman had broke his stick at centre, the Canucks broke up ice on an odd-man rush. Bieksa dished the puck to the right face off circle for Mason Raymond who immediately fed the puck across the zone for a wide open Bernier. This time he beat the Stars netminder with his first goal in six games. Bernier now has 15 on the season and this one came at 15:05.

Final shots on net favoured the Stars 26-25. The Canucks were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play while Dallas went 1-for-7.

Now with an overall record of 37-23-9, Vancouver prepares to put the finishing touches on a lengthy homestand on Thursday evening when they host the St. Louis Blues. This will be the third meeting of the season between two teams that have combined for 20 goals in their previous two meetings. Game time will be 7:00pm PST.

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