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Canucks hold on to beat Stars, snap three-game losing skid

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Vancouver Canucks got goals from Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin less than two minutes apart in the third period and held on for a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars before 17,393 fans at American Airlines Center. Vancouver (9-3-4, 22 points) ended a three-game losing streak while Dallas (8-8-1, 17 points) lost its second straight.

"I'm really happy the way we responded," Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said. "They came out on that first shift and they capitalized on a couple of our puck decisions and made it 1-0 early, but we were able to stick to the plan and after two periods, we had a tie game. It was another one of those hard-fought games."

After the game was tied 2-2 at the second intermission, Garrison gave the Canucks their first lead at 3-2 when he blasted a 61-foot slapshot past Dallas rookie netminder Cristopher Nilstorp at 2:32 of the final period. Sedin then made it a two-goal game at 4:18, scoring on an easy tap-in after he and Alexandre Burrows executed perfectly on a 2-on-1 situation.

Dallas had taken an early lead when Jamie Benn flicked a 17-foot wrister into the far side of the Vancouver net just 35 seconds into the game. But after Stars rookie Reilly Smith earned an interference penalty at 7:49 of the opening period, the Vancouver power play tied things up just 40 seconds later when Burrows deflected a 39-foot wrister by Alexander Edler to make it 1-1.

With the game tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Dallas wasted little time in reclaiming the lead early in the second when Michael Ryder deftly slipped a 15-foot backhand into the right side of the Vancouver net to make it 2-1. Ryder shot across his body just as he was entering the left faceoff circle for his fifth goal of the season.

"Overall, I thought that our work ethic was strong tonight and we improved certainly some of the things we've had for a couple of days in practice but it's a result-based business and we didn't get the result," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said.

But once again, Vancouver had an answer. It came at 7:05 of the second when Kevin Bieksa beat Nilstorp through the five-hole with an 11-foot backhand for the equalizer. The Canucks had been on the power play after Dallas' Aaron Rome was whistled for hooking but that advantage was negated 55 seconds later when Burrows earned a crosschecking penalty in front of the Dallas net.

Bieksa's goal came after Dan Hamhuis fed him from behind the Canucks net. His fellow defenseman then rushed furiously up the right side of the ice before converting for his fifth of the season.

The Stars did cut it to 4-3 at 6:07 of the third period when captain Brenden Morrow stole the puck from Kesler near the Vancouver goal and quickly tapped the puck in for his fourth of the season from 13 feet out.

"I think it was important for our team to put together a better two-way effort and I thought we did that tonight," Vigneault said. "Even though we started off on our heels a little bit, I thought the guys responded after that. They got a break on that third goal. Otherwise it would have been a 4-2 game. "

Vancouver netminder Cory Schneider stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced for his fourth win of the season while Nilstorp made 18 saves on 22 shots to fall to 0-3-0 in his short career.

"It's never good to give up a goal in the first minute of the game, so it was good to show some resilience and we didn't crack under that," Schneider said. "Our power play got us a big goal. They've been scoring some timely ones the last few games. It was nice to sort of return the favor and come back on them a couple of times in their building."

The Canucks complete the back-to-back on Friday night in Nashville while Dallas returns to the ice on Saturday night against San Jose.

"It was huge, especially the tough losses we had, giving up the lead against these guys last time (in our building)," Kesler said. "It was a gut-wrenching win tonight and I thought the boys did well."

NOTES: With right winger Jannik Hansen suspended for a blow to the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa on Tuesday, Hansen was replaced on the second line with Zack Kassian. ... Dallas center Jamie Benn's goal just 35 seconds into the game gives him at least a point in seven of the Stars' last eight games. ... Canucks right winger Alexandre Burrows netted his fifth goal of the year in the first period for Vancouver. It was also Burrows' second of the year against Dallas. He also scored in a 4-3 loss in Vancouver on Feb. 15. ... The goal by Stars right winger Michael Ryder early in the second period, his fifth goal of the season, snapped a stretch of eight games without a goal. Ryder's last goal had previously come Feb. 1 against Phoenix.
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