DALLAS (AP)—The Dallas Stars knew how to protect a three-goal lead, this time.
Jason Arnott and Bill Guerin each had a goal and two assists, and the Stars stretched their franchise record, home-unbeaten streak to 16 games with a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
The Stars bounced back from Tuesday’s 3-3 tie with San Jose when Dallas allowed three goals in the final 6:03 to squander an opportunity to pull within a point of the first-place Sharks in the Pacific Division.
Dallas had given up the tying goal in the final minute of four games earlier this season, but the Stars were in control down the stretch against Vancouver.
“We played more of a sound game,” Guerin said. “The other night we were pretty fortunate to get a tie. Tonight we didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”
Marty Turco made 20 saves for his 20th career shutout and Philippe Boucher added a goal for the Stars in a potential first-round playoff preview. Vancouver is fourth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of fifth-place Dallas.
“It’s still a little early yet, but there’s a strong possibility we’ll be playing each other again in the playoffs,” said Vancouver goaltender Dan Cloutier, who was pulled after two periods because of a lower body injury. “We wanted to come in here, get a win and pick up two points, but we didn’t play well enough to do that.”
Dallas has eight games left, five on the road, including a contest at Vancouver on March 27. The Canucks have eight remaining, three on the road.
The Stars have won all three meetings with the Canucks this season and are 6-1 against Vancouver the last two seasons.
“Our focus first and foremost is how we play,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “If we play like we’re capable of playing, the numbers will take care of themselves.”
Dallas continued the longest home unbeaten streak in the league (12-0-4) since the Detroit Red Wings put together a 19-game run from Dec. 31, 2000, to April 7, 2001. The Stars’ last home loss was Jan. 10 against Colorado.
The Canucks had no answers for the line of Arnott, Guerin and Brenden Morrow.
“They have so much skill and they’re so big and strong, that was the difference in the game,” Vancouver captain Markus Naslund said. “Their line was a big part of everything tonight. They’re definitely tough to defend against.”
Boucher got the only first-period goal, scoring from low in the right circle off a setup by Arnott at 12:23.
Arnott made it 2-0 from the slot at 2:43 of the second period, his 20th.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate,” said Arnott, who has 17 goals at home. “The net’s been finding me a little bit.”
Guerin knocked in the rebound of his own shot for his 32nd goal after a pass from Arnott as the Stars extended their advantage to 3-0 at 12:49 of the second period.
“It started out pretty well, but we didn’t react well when they got their first goal,” Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. “From that point on, we gave them so much life and they took over the next 25 minutes.”
Johan Hedberg was in goal for the final 20 minutes after Cloutier stopped 14 of 17 shots over the first two periods.
The Canucks would not be more specific about the injury to Cloutier, who will not start Friday at Chicago.
“It’s not a severe injury, but it’s enough to keep him out of the lineup,”Crawford said.
Turco, an Ontario native, is 17-3-1 for his career against Canadian teams. … Boucher set a career high with his eighth goal. … Arnott has six straight seasons of at least 20 goals. … The Canucks are 1-3-1 with seven goals since the season-ending suspension of RW Todd Bertuzzi. … Vancouver is1-for-30 on the power play in its last eight games.