- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars defeated one of the top teams in the league Sunday, and did it dramatic fashion in front of a revved up crowd. Mike Ribeiro scored the game-tying goal with 52.5 seconds left in regulation and then Loui Eriksson scored with 1:08 remaining in overtime to give the Stars a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks before a near-sellout crowd of 18,010 at American Airlines Center.
The Stars, who ran their winning streak to four games, increased their lead in the race for eighth place in the Western Conference to two points. They pulled to within one point of seventh-seeded San Jose and are three points out of the Pacific Division lead.
“It was huge for us to get that first point and then to be able to win in overtime, it’s a big game for us,” said Ribeiro, who also had an assist in the game. “To come back against a team like that is good for us, it’s good for the confidence. Guys are doing the right things, special teams are kind of clicking now. Everyone is pushing right now and playing well.”
The four-game winning streak is the first for the Stars since October 29-November 8.
“We have to keep building on the last couple games. We have been playing really good lately here. We just have to keep going here,” said Eriksson. “Vancouver is really a good team and I thought we played really good and we got the two points, that’s the important thing.”
The Canucks built a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, but the Stars started their rally late in the second with a power play goal. Ribeiro set up Michael Ryder off the rush and Ryder beat Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo with a one-timer from the left circle with 1:56 left in the second.
The Stars couldn’t crack Luongo and the Canucks until late in regulation. After an icing call against the Canucks, the Stars got an offensive zone draw. Steve Ott won it against Ryan Kesler and Alex Goligoski’s shot was redirected into the net by Ribeiro to tie the game at 2-2.
“It was a big draw. Otter won it pretty clean, so it gives you more time to do something with it,” said Ribeiro. “Great heads up play from Goose We kind of looked at each other and it was more of a shot-pass than anything else and I was just trying to redirect it on net. I was lucky enough that it went in.”
In overtime, Daley took a pass from Ott and sent a cross-ice pass from the left wing to Eriksson, who put the puck into the side of the net to secure the win for the Stars.
“It was a great pass,” Eriksson said. "I was open there ... so it was pretty easy to put home.”
The Stars improved to 8-5-2 since the All-Star break, and it will have them in a playoff spot as the NHL trade deadline hits Monday afternoon.
“I don’t know if it is a statement or not, but certainly we got going at the right time,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’ve got a lot of hockey left, almost a quarter of the season. Good for those guys. I don’t know what the trade deadline holds, but certainly with what we have and the way we are in that room, we are more than comfortable that when Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn get back we can get ourselves where we need to get.”
*Sunday’s attendance was 18,010.
*Vancouver lost for the first time this season when leading after two periods (26-0-1)
*The Stars were 1-2 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill in the game.
*Stars center Jamie Benn missed his sixth straight game with a leg injury.
*Stars forwards Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) and Jake Dowell (finger), who are also out, remain on injured reserve.
*Defenseman Adam Pardy was a healthy scratch for Dallas.