Thursday, April 18, 2013
Dallas Stars 5, Vancouver Canucks 1
Stars get back on track with huge home win.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars rode a dominant third period to victory Thursday night at the American Airlines Center, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. The win improved Dallas to 22-18-3 and 47 points, two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver, clearly tired on the final game of a five-game road trip, fell to 24-13-7.
The game was far closer than the final score indicates, particularly through the first two periods. The teams played evenly in a scoreless first before former Star Derek Roy broke through with the game's first goal at 6:38 of the second. On a slow Dallas line change, Ryan Kesler made a long cross-ice pass to a breaking Roy, who easily escaped a poor stickchecking attempt from Alex Goligoski and backhanded it in for his sixth goal of the season and a 1-0 Vancouver lead.
Dallas evened it up at 12:09 of the middle frame, just seconds after their first powerplay of the game expired. Cody Eakin, Eric Nystrom and Vernon Fiddler cycled the puck around the Canuck net for a prolonged period of time on the tail end of the powerplay, until the puck squirted loose to an uncovered Fiddler who tapped it in for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-1 game. It was Fiddler's 11th point since the trade deadline, tied with Alex Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin for most in the NHL in that span.
The floodgates finally opened early in the third period. Eakin got the rout started at 1:36, when he skated around and through the Canucks defense before wristing a shot past Vancouver netminder Corey Schneider for his 7th goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
Just two and a half minutes later, Jamie Benn took advantage of a terrible turnover at the Vancouver blueline, skated in and wristed a laser to the far corner for his 11th of the season and third in the last two games. Three minutes after that at 7:03, Benn's deflection of a Brenden Dillon shot from the point rebounded right to Ray Whitney, who tapped it into a near-empty net for his 11th of the season and a 4-1 score.
Erik Cole capped the scoring with his ninth goal of the year at 18:18, when he took a pass from Stephane Robidas on the powerplay and slammed it home for a 5-1 final score.
One of the night's biggest surprises was the play of Ryan Garbutt, who played over 14 minutes on a line with Eakin and Reilly Smith and buzzed the Canucks net all night, launching seven shots on goal but not figuring on the scoresheet.
Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen had a stellar night in his first game back after missing four games with a groin pull, stopping 37 of the 38 shots he faced. Schneider was not so fortunate, saving just 25 of the 30 shots he saw in the loss.
Dallas' next game is Friday night in St. Louis, where they will face the surging 25-16-2 Blues.