Stars 3, Canucks 2, SO
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DALLAS (AP) -
Naslund scored twice for a struggling Canucks side that's missing almost its entire starting line-up on defence, but it wasn't enough in Dallas Tuesday night as the Stars triumphed 3-2.
Trevor Linden hit the post, Ryan Kesler
shot high, and Daniel Sedin
was stopped cold in the shootout as the Canucks had three chances to steal a win from the Stars before Brendan Morrow won it in the sixth round beating Roberto Luongo
with a wrist shot.
Morrow is a grinder, not a shootout expert, but the Dallas captain came through in the sixth round of the tiebreaker to deliver a victory for the Stars.
Morrow also had a goal and an assist in regulation as the Stars handed Vancouver their fourth straight loss.
The Canucks are 1-5-3 in their last nine games, but have been ravaged by injuries as regulars Aaron Miller, Lukas Krajicek, Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund and Kevin Bieksa
all sat out Tuesday's contest.
With so many bodies missing, the fate of the Canucks was left in the hands of Zach Fitzgerald, Nathan McIver
and Luc Bourdon, who all performed admirably against a veteran Dallas team, but could do nothing but watch as the shootout unfolded.
"I'm terrible at it in practice," Morrow said. "I'm a traditionalist, so I'm still not used to having a skills competition deciding a game. I'll admit it's exciting, but it's not my thing. But when I'm called upon, I feel comfortable doing it."
Jussi Jokinen got the shootout underway for Dallas by beating Luongo, but Naslund answered in the first round for Vancouver.
Neither team could convert in the next four rounds until Morrow went high with a shot that got past Luongo and glanced off the crossbar and into the net. That helped the Stars improve to 5-2 in shootouts this season and 26-7 in the three-year history of the tiebreaker.
Morrow, who converted his only other career shootout try on Oct. 15, 2006 to beat Anaheim, noticed that Luongo crouched low to stop Dallas' Niklas Hagman in the fifth round. So Morrow decided to lift the puck on his shot.
"I knew I wanted to go high and I wanted to make sure I put it on net," Morrow said.
Said Luongo: "When the guy puts it off the bar, there's not much you can do. It was a great shot."
Marty Turco denied Taylor Pyatt in Vancouver's chance in the sixth round, assuring the Dallas victory. Turco stopped 22 shots overall.
"It's just 'mano a mano', and you just read and react and try to make stops," Turco said.
He scored one, assisted on another, and won the game in the shootout.
Hard for him to do more. Scored a pair and was the only Canuck to beat Turco in the shootout.
The Dallas press had him as second star, but that's not fair to Nazzy. Turco was good stopping 22 shots, but the Canucks hot two posts in the shootout.
Jere Lehtinen added a power-play goal for the Stars, who stretched their Pacific Division lead to four points over the San Jose Sharks.
Naslund scored twice for the slumping Canucks, who have lost four in a row and are 1-5-3 in their last nine games.
The Stars returned home following an unbeaten three-game trip through Western Canada that included a 4-3 win over the Canucks on Jan. 29. Turco got the decision in all three victories.
Lehtinen gave the Stars a 2-1 lead with his power-play goal at 7:11 of the second period, steering Morrow's centering pass through the pads of Luongo.
The goal was Lehtinen's seventh of the season and first in three games since returning to the lineup after missing 23 games with an abdominal injury.
"Lehtinen is coming around," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "He's getting his timing back and getting more comfortable again."
Turco was down for a few minutes at 7:45 of the second period after teammate Jeff Halpern was pushed into the goalie by Vancouver's Matt Cooke. Turco was struck in the face, but he got back on his feet after being attended to by medical personnel and returned to his position while Cooke skated to the penalty box for roughing.
Naslund tied it at 2 at 18:47 of the second period with his 19th of the season, flipping a sharp-angled shot from the edge of the left circle past a sprawling Turco, who had lost his stick.
Naslund got the game's first goal at 12:50 of the opening period, converting a setup from Mason Raymond while Dallas' Stephane Robidas was serving a high sticking penalty.
Dallas tied it at 1 when Morrow's shot from the left circle banked in off the skate of Vancouver's Alex Burrows at 16:40 of the first period, Morrow's team-high 23rd goal.
Zach Fitzgerald, who played his first NHL game Tuesday in Dallas, logged just over 13 minutes, while McIver played a career high 21:37, and fellow rookie Bourdon played just over 14 minutes. The veteran of the group, 22-year-old Alex Edler, logged 28:53 - the most ice time of anyone Tuesday night, save for the goaltenders. None of the defenceman were minus on the night, though the surrendered 34 shots - including 13 in a frantic third period.
"It's not an excuse," Luongo said. "It doesn't matter who you play back there. I wish (reporters) would stop asking me that. The young guys did a good job stepping up."
The Canucks got one bit of good news for their defense when Sami Salo
returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with a groin injury. he didn't exactly ease back into the line-up logging 28:43 of ice time.
The Stars are still without two key defensemen: Sergei Zubov (groin, foot) and Philippe Boucher (shoulder). Both are practicing with the team, but there is no timetable for their return. ... Lehtinen's previous goal was last Nov. 19 against Los Angeles. ... The Canucks have lost their last seven regular-season games in Dallas. ... Vancouver is 4-7 in shootouts this season.
|Three star selections