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Stars 4, Canucks 1

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- In a great bounce-back performance after struggling in his previous eight starts, Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen looked like his old self, stopping 27 of 28 shots as the Stars handed the Vancouver Canucks a 4-1 defeat at the American Airlines Center on Thursday.

Dallas (17-12-5, 39 points) got a three-point night from left winger Erik Cole and two assists each from centers Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin.

It was a game the Stars never trailed, taking an early two-goal lead when center and captain Jamie Benn scored 4:34 into the game with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo top shelf. The goal was Benn's 10th of the season.

And just 15 seconds later, Dallas rookie center Colton Sceviour scored his third in four games, knocking in a pass from Peverley at the far post to make it 2-0.

Three minutes after Sceviour's goal, Vancouver got on the board, making it a 2-1 game at 7:38 when left winger Chris Higgins took Lehtonen top shelf on the short side with a wrister from the left circle.

However, Lehtonen showed he was in top form when he robbed Vancouver right winger Jannik Hansen with a glove save at the left post 1:17 into the second period.

Peverley also had a near-miss at 5:31 of the second when his wrister from the left circle rang off the far post.

Dallas made it a two-goal game again at 3-1 when Cole scored his sixth of the year from the left faceoff circle on a shot that seemed to go through Luongo. Cole's shot struck Luongo in the midsection before trickling between his legs and over the line.

The Stars also looked like they had a fourth goal from center Cody Eakin 22 seconds before the second intermission. However, Eakin's tally was waved off after Dallas left winger Ryan Garbutt was called for interference on Canucks defenseman Dam Hamhuis in the high slot.

Dallas went ahead 4-1 early in the third when rookie right winger Valeri Nichushkin scored his sixth 2:23 into the final frame after a great no-look pass from Cole. That goal chased Luongo from the game and backup Eddie Lack entered.

Luongo stopped 15 of 19 shots before exiting. Lack stopped all seven shots he faced.

NOTES: Canucks C Jeremy Welsh was the lone scratch for Vancouver. D Ryan Stanton returned to Vancouver on Wednesday after suffering a lower-body injury in Tuesday night's shootout loss at the Minnesota Wild. ... Stars D Maxime Fortunus, who cleared waivers earlier in the day, C Dustin Jeffrey and D Aaron Rome were scratched by Dallas. ... The goal by Dallas C Jamie Benn early in the first period was his third in four games. ... Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan, who coached the Stars the last two seasons before being fired in May, returned to Dallas for the first time since his dismissal. ... Stars C Rich Peverley assisted on Dallas' second and third goals of the game for his third two-assist game of the season. ... Canucks G Roberto Luongo was starting his fourth straight game in net for Vancouver. ... Announced attendance was 15,644.
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