Thursday, February 21, 2013
Vancouver Canucks 4, Dallas Stars 3
Stars play scared, lose second straight.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars seemed to lose their fight Thursday night at the American Airlines Center, crawling into a shell late in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The loss, their second straight, dropped Dallas to 8-8-1 on the season. Vancouver improved to 9-3-4.
Down by one goal with two minutes remaining in the game, Derek Roy was called for hooking on a David Booth breakaway. Rather than play aggressive defense to get the puck back and attempt a shorthanded chance, the Stars' penalty killing unit inexplicably played a soft, passive box. The Canucks were only too happy to pass back and forth along the boards for the entirety of the two minute powerplay, and Dallas never touched the puck until there was under two seconds remaining.
The game was an up-and-down affair from the start. Dallas opened the scoring 35 seconds into the game when Jamie Benn wristed a shot past Canucks goalie Cory Schneider for his fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, Stars rookie Reilly Smith tripped over Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa's stick and was mysteriously called for interference, resulting in a free referee-awarded goal to Alexandre Burrows thirty seconds later.
The two teams traded goals in the second period as well, with Michael Ryder backhanding in a shot for his fifth of the season at 2:39, and Bieksa skating past overmatched Stars defenseman Phillip Larsen and backhanding his own fifth goal of the season to make it 2-2 at 7:05.
The Canucks took the lead for good with two goals over a two minute span to open the third. Jason Garrison's slapshot from the point nailed Stars rookie Antoine Roussel, taking him out of the play, and Garrison's follow-up shot got past Stars rookie backup netminder Christopher Nilstorp for the 3-2 lead at 2:32 of the third. Two minutes later, a wide-open Henrik Sedin took a cross-ice pass from Burrows and buried it for his second goal of the season and a 4-2 lead.
Dallas cut the lead to one at 6:07 when Ryan Kesler whiffed on the puck near his own crease, and Stars captain Brenden Morrow pounced on it and slapped it home for his fourth of the season and a 4-3 score. But Dallas was unable to take advantage of a late powerplay or any number of Canucks mistakes after that, eventually crawling into a shell in the final two minutes.
Nilstorp was so-so, stopping 18 of the 22 shots he faced to fall to 0-3-0. Schneider was one better, making 22 saves on 25 shots to improve to 5-3-1 on the year.
Dallas' next game is Saturday night in Dallas against the up-and-down 8-4-3 San Jose Sharks, the first meeting of the year between the division rivals.