Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Stars complete sweep of road trip with win in Vancouver
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars wrapped up an impressive road trip with an impressive victory, beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Tuesday night to run their points streak to eight games (7-0-1).
The Stars went 3-0-0 on the road trip through Western Canada and have now won five straight on the road.
“You can’t ask for more. Our guys battled hard tonight at the end of a road trip,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We got six points out of this thing that we desperately needed. We’ve just got to keep moving forward and stay in the grind.”
The Pacific Division leading Stars, who are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, increased their lead in the division to two points. They have a three point lead over the ninth place Los Angeles Kings.
The Stars’ top line came up big again. Mike Ribeiro had two goals and one assist, Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist and Michael Ryder chipped in two assists. Jamie Benn and Stephane Robidas also scored for the Stars. Richard Bachman stopped 29 of 31 shots for his eighth win of the season.
Bachman faced a test just 24 seconds into the game when Vancouver Zach Kassian was awarded a penalty shot, but the Canucks forward lost control of the puck and never got a shot off.
“I actually felt some jitters. It was the first NHL game I’ve started in Canada and the atmosphere was amazing. So, starting off with a penalty shot is never what you want to see,” Bachman said. “Once that was done it helped settle me in and after that first period I really got comfortable.”
The Stars and Canucks played a scoreless first and the Canucks struck first on a goal by Chris Higgins at the 6:45 mark of the second.
But the Stars scored two goals late in the second to take a lead they would never give up. The Stars scored on their second power play of the night to tie the game at the 16:44 mark. Trevor Daley’s centering pass from the right circle deflected off the skate of Loui Eriksson and past Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
Mike Ribeiro scored off a two-on-one with Michael Ryder to give the Stars a 2-1 lead with 23 seconds left in the second period.
“We’ll take that,” Ribeiro said of the two goals late in the second. “They are a team that likes to pinch and we were able to win those battles and create a two-on-one there.”
The Stars extended to the lead to 3-1 at 4:25 of the third when Steve Ott set up Jamie Benn, who beat Luongo with a shot from the left circle.
Alex Edler scored for the Canucks to make it a 3-2 game, but the Stars extended the lead once again. Ryder slipped by Daniel Sedin along the right boards in the Vancouver boards off the rush and put the puck towards the net, where Ribeiro tapped it to give the Stars a 4-2 lead with 8:49 remaining. Stephane Robidas scored a late empty net goal to seal the win and perfect road trip for the Stars.
“You definitely want to get as many points as you can, and we got them all on this trip,” said Benn. “We’re just playing a solid team game and everybody is buying in. That’s what you need at a time like this.”
*The Stars lost Trevor Daley for a good part of the first period after Canucks forward Alex Burrows fell on him during a scramble in front of the Dallas goal. Daley did return for the start of the second period.
*Excluding goals awarded for shootout victories, the Stars have outscored their opposition 26-12 during their eight-game points streak.
*The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are 13-13 over the last five games and are 23-24 on the PK over the last eight games.
*Michael Ryder picked up two assists to extend his points streak to seven games.
*The Stars are 9-0-1 against Canadian-based teams this season.