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Stars defeat Canucks for their sixth straight road win

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was overworked Sunday night -- but he did not complain.

Lehtonen recorded 42 saves as the Stars doubled the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 at Rogers Arena.

"It gets quite warm in this building so the pads start to get a little heavy there the last couple of minutes," he said. "But it's fun when you are having a good night and going well. You kind of want more and more shots.

"When you are able to make the saves, you want 60 shots, but this was plenty. They were coming hard and got some good chances at the end, too.

Right wing Erik Cole's early third-period goal gave the Stars the win.

Cole put the Stars up 2-0 just 1:42 into the third period as he converted a pass from center Cody Eakin on a two-on-one. With the goal, Cole ended his scoreless streak at 17 games.

He had not scored since Oct. 5 against Washington.

"(It's) pretty nice to start contributing a little more," said Cole.

But Lehtonen was ultimately the difference as the Stars (11-7-2) posted their sixth win in seven games and extended their road winning streak to six games. The Canucks (11-8-3) suffered their fourth consecutive loss despite playing well upon returning from a tough four-game road trip against Pacific Division opponents.

The Stars improved to a perfect 6-0-0 when leading after two periods.

Right wing Valeri Nichushkin also scored for Dallas.

Center Henrik Sedin replied for the Canucks.

The Canucks outshot the Stars by a whopping 43-23 count and Vancouver converted on one of five power-play chances while Dallas was blanked on three. But Lehtonen delivered an almost-flawless effort and was aided by a disallowed Vancouver goal.

The game had barely begun before Lehtonen stopped Sedin on a breakaway and held on to the puck, preventing left wing Alex Burrows from stuffing in the rebound.

Nichushkin gave Dallas a 1-0 lead 9:33 into the game as he stuffed in center Tyler Seguin's short backhand pass from behind the net. Seguin's assist extended his points streak to four games. He has collected six goals and two assists in four games over the past week.

Left wing Jamie Benn also drew an assist to post seven points in two games.

The Canucks had a goal disallowed at 6:48 of the second period as left wing Daniel Sedin was judged to have made incidental contact with Lehtonen before Henrik Sedin put the puck in during a power play. A replay indicated that Daniel Sedin's skate barely touched Lehtonen and the goaltender fell on his own.

"It was a goal," said Henrik Sedin. "It was a goal. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to talk about it. You saw what happened. (There's) nothing to talk about."

But Canucks coach John Tortorella was more than willing to talk about it. He said no single play should determine the outcome of a game, but was upset that the officials did not review a replay.

"It was a big play in the game," said Tortorella. "I think we need to get the call right. ... It was the wrong call."

Ironically, Lehtonen concurred with Tortorella's assessment. The goaltender also would have preferred to have a replay used.

"I thought they would not call it, but when you see it, maybe there is something -- but not too much," said Lehtonen.

"It happens so fast and, I've said it before, I wish they would maybe use some video replay or something just to make them right."

The Canuck twins' bad luck continued in the second period as Henrik Sedin took an interference penalty and then saw Burrows deflect his pass off the goal post with Lehtonen beaten. Vancouver outshot Dallas 20-5 in the middle frame, but could not score.

Tortorella was willing to take the blame for Cole's goal, which came during a botched Vancouver line change.

The Canucks responded with a power-play goal less than two minutes later as Henrik Sedin's luck finally changed for the better and he put in center Ryan Kesler's rebound during a power play. Kesler's assist came in his 600th career NHL game.

But Vancouver could not beat Lehtonen again.

Henrik Sedin criticized his club for not being able to convert its numerous opportunities.

"It's very frustrating because we're losing points (in the standings)," he said. "We've seen our division, the ways teams are getting points right now. We can't have a bad week or two weeks, we're going to lose ground."

But Tortorella still found cause to praise his club.

"I think our team played hard," he said. "It was another 20-scoring-chance night."

The Vancouver coach contended the Canucks are just going through a "funk" that all clubs experience during the course of a season.

"We just need to try to finish," said Tortorella.

NOTES: Stars LW Ray Whitney missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Vancouver RW Jannik Hansen returned after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. ... Stars C Vernon Fiddler played in his 600th career NHL game. ... Canucks RW Zack Kassian played in his 100th NHL career game. ... The game was the first of three meetings between Vancouver and Dallas this season.
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