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Friday, March 30, 2012
Stars fall to Canucks, 5-2

By Mark Stepneski



The Dallas Stars were knocked out of first place in the Pacific Division after losing 5-2 at Vancouver on Friday night. Los Angeles, a  4-1 winner at Edmonton, took over the top spot in the division. The Stars are now seventh in the Western Conference.

The Stars, who have lost five of their last eight games, play at ninth place San Jose Saturday. They lead the Sharks by one point.

Steve Ott and Jake Dowell scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 of 30 shots in 49:59 of playing time for the Stars. Richard Bachman played the final 10:01 and stopped three of four shots.

Cory Schneider stopped 28 of 30 for the Canucks, who won their fifth straight game.

First period

Both teams had some good chances early in the period, but the Canucks struck first at the 6:17 mark. Jannik Hansen got to a puck along the right boards and backhanded it to Chris Higgins, who beat Kari Lehtonen with a quick shot from the slot.

Roberto Luongo was expected to start for the Canucks, but Cory Schneider was announced as the starter just before game time. He was superb in the first period, making 13 saves. He had a couple of sharp saves on Jamie Benn along with good stops on Michael Ryder and Mike Ribeiro in the period.

Vancouver had the only power play of the period. The Stars had a 13-7 edge in shots.

Second period

The Stars tied the game at 3:16 of the second. After Jamie Benn put a shot on net off a faceoff, Steve Ott got to the rebound and slipped it past Cory Schneider to make it a 1-1 game.

After that it was a series of quality saves by Schneider and Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen had a save on Samuel Pahlsson and two on Chris Higgins. On the Canucks second power play of the game Schneider made a big shorthanded stop on Ott and then made a spectacular save on a shorthanded bid by Loui Eriksson. He made another shorthanded save on Vernon Fiddler on Vancouver’s third power play.

The Canucks took the lead on that third power play when Sami Salo’s blast from the right point went through traffic and past Lehtonen with 8:39 left in the period.

The Canucks made it 3:35 left in the second. Moments after Schneider stopped Jake Dowell, the Canucks went the other way and Henrik Sedin found defenseman Andrew Alberts, who scored off a blast from the left circle.

The Canucks outshot the Stars 20-13 in the second period and had a 27-26 advantage through two periods.

Third period

Reilly Smith got bumped up to a line with Benn and Ott to start the third, and Smith hit the post early in the period. But the Canucks scored twice in a 2:12 to blow the game open. Henrik Sedin set up Alex Burrow, who scored from close range a the 9:06 mark to make it a 4-1 game.

The Stars pulled Lehtonen in favor of Richard Bachman a short time later and the Canucks quickly scored to make it a 5-1 game when a wide open Max Lapierre scored from the slot at the 11:18 mark.

Jake Dowell scored late for the Stars to round out the scoring.

Stars lineup

Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder
Ott-Benn-Vincour
Morrow-Fiddler-Burish
Smith-Dowell-Garbutt

Souray-Robidas
Pardy-Daley
Goligoski-Larsen

Lehtonen (starter)
Bachman

Injured: Fistric (abdominal strain), Dvorak (ankle), Nystrom (leg)
Scratched: Petersen, Wandell, Jordie Benn