Canucks 5, Stars 2

Associated Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:49 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Max Lapierre had a lot of fun - at the Dallas Stars' expense.

A perennial fourth-liner moved up to the first line, Lapierre had a goal and two assists in the Vancouver Canucks' 5-2 victory Friday night that dropped the Stars from the third seed in the Western Conference to the seventh spot.

"I didn't wish it, but I was a little bit surprised," Lapierre said.

The Canucks won their fifth straight to move within a point of St. Louis for the Western Conference lead. Vancouver is two points behind the New York Rangers for the overall lead.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault juggled his top forward line, putting Lapierre with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. Lapierre filled in for Daniel Sedin, who missed his fifth consecutive game because of a concussion.

"When he plays with confidence and with that speed, he looks like Guy Lafleur out there," Burrows said about Lapierre. "Guys like to give it to him. They (chanted) `Guy! Guy! once he got into the locker room. But he's a great teammate, and it couldn't happen to a better guy."

Chris Higgins, Sami Salo, Andrew Alberts and Alex Burrows also scored for the Canucks.

Cory Schneider made 32 saves for his 12th victory in his past 14 starts. He was a surprise starter after Roberto Luongo left the pregame warmups early because of a stiff neck.

"You never want to be forced into that situation," Schneider said. "You hope everything is fine with Lou, but that's my job."

Steve Ott and Jake Dowell scored for Dallas. The Stars began the night with the Pacific Division lead, but dropped a point behind Los Angeles after the Kings beat Edmonton. Dallas and Phoenix are in the final two playoff spots in the conference with 89 points. The Stars, Los Angeles and Phoenix all have four games left.

"We've got to kick the losses as quick as we can and move on to the next game, because there's only four left now," Ott said.

Luongo skated off the ice with about 4 minutes to go in the warmups. Schneider went between the pipes at the start of the game, while Luongo took his place on the bench as the backup. It was Schneider's second straight start. He shut out Colorado 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Higgins opened the scoring 6:17 into the game, putting in a pass from Jannik Hansen after the puck bounced off Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski. It was the fourth goal in four games for Higgins, who scored the lone goal against Colorado.

Ott tied it off his own rebound at 3:16 of the second period.

Salo scored on a power play with 8:59 left in the period, and Alberts made it 3-1 with 3:35 to go. Alberts ended his scoring drought at 28 games.

Burrows made it 4-1 midway through the third period. Less than a minute after the goal, Kari Lehtonen was replaced in the Dallas net by Richard Bachman.

About a minute later, Lapierre scored on Vancouver's first shot on Bachman.

"That line got more comfortable as the game went on," Vigneault said. "I'm not saying I foresee it staying together in the future, but it's nice to see some guys can step up."

Dowell closed out the scoring with 2:42 left.

Notes: Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa missed his second straight game. Associate coach Rick Bowness said the team continues to give him "maintenance days." ... Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) and winger Radek Dvorak (undisclosed upper-body problem) remained out.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
06:17VAN Chris Higgins (17) ASST: Jannik Hansen (21) 1 - 0 VAN
2nd Period
03:16DAL Steve Ott (11) ASST: Jamie Benn (36) 1 - 1 Tie
11:01VAN PPG - Sami Salo (9) ASST: Henrik Sedin (61), Ryan Kesler (26) 2 - 1 VAN
16:25VAN Andrew Alberts (2) ASST: Henrik Sedin (62), Maxim Lapierre (9) 3 - 1 VAN
3rd Period
09:06VAN Alexandre Burrows (25) ASST: Henrik Sedin (63), Maxim Lapierre (10) 4 - 1 VAN
11:18VAN Maxim Lapierre (7) ASST: Marc-Andre Gragnani (12), Zack Kassian (6) 5 - 1 VAN
17:18DAL Jake Dowell (2) ASST: Tomas Vincour (5), Philip Larsen (7) 5 - 2 VAN
Three Stars of the Game
Henrik Sedin
Henrik Sedin
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 3Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 18:18
Maxim Lapierre
Maxim Lapierre
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 2Hits: 3
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 13:25
Chris Higgins
Chris Higgins
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:31
Penalty Summary
1st Period
12:23DAL Brenden Morrow  Interference on goalkeeper against  Cory Schneider
2nd Period
04:20VAN Alexander Edler  Holding against  Vernon Fiddler
06:04DAL Brenden Morrow  Tripping against  Christopher Tanev
09:07DAL Adam Pardy  Tripping against  Dale Weise
3rd Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/11/3
Faceoff Wins2331
Blocked Shots1115
Penalty Minutes62
3S. RobidasD00-10024:33
6T. DaleyD0001020:51
10B. MorrowL0011413:28
11J. DowellC100206:57
14J. BennL01-15019:43
16A. BurishR0000015:10
18R. SmithR00-3108:39
21L. ErikssonR00-11019:21
27A. PardyD0011213:57
29S. OttC10-14020:03
33A. GoligoskiD00-20021:30
36P. LarsenD01-12017:01
38V. FiddlerC0002014:16
40R. GarbuttC00-1208:56
44S. SourayD00-11022:08
63M. RibeiroC00-12017:40
73M. RyderR00-12016:20
81T. VincourC0123013:33
31R. Bachman34.75010:01
32K. Lehtonen2630.86749:59
2D. HamhuisD0011022:11
5M. GragnaniD0113016:43
6S. SaloD10-12021:14
7D. BoothL00-13016:31
8C. TanevD0020019:15
9Z. KassianR0101010:47
14A. BurrowsR1022018:09
17R. KeslerC01-13018:11
20C. HigginsL1013016:31
21M. RaymondL00-21015:39
23A. EdlerD0013221:28
26S. PahlssonC0013015:06
27M. MalhotraC0000011:29
32D. WeiseR0001010:48
33H. SedinC0322018:18
36J. HansenR0112015:34
40M. LapierreC1233013:25
41A. AlbertsD1001017:10
35C. Schneider2830.93359:31