VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks
clinched a playoff spot Saturday night, and gained some confidence
against the team they might face in the first round.
Geoff Sanderson scored the tying goal midway through the third
period, and Brendan Morrison added the winner 40 seconds into
overtime in the Canucks' 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on
The win was Vancouver's first over the Stars in four games this
season, and moved the fifth-place Canucks within one point of
Dallas in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the
Western Conference playoffs.
"It's always important you get a little bit of confidence
against a team you may face in the playoffs," Canucks coach Marc
Crawford said. "We haven't played very well against them this
No one has played well against the Stars when trailing after two
periods. Dallas was unbeaten in 69 games when leading after 40
minutes, but that all changed when Morrison raced in on a
two-on-two rush and snapped a 20-foot wrist shot that hit the shaft
of a Lubomir Sekeras' stick and bounced through Ron Tugnutt's legs.
"I don't know what the defenseman did on my side, it looked
like he turned to the middle and I just had a lane to the net and
just got a little lucky it hit the shaft and redirected," Morrison
Daniel Sedin also scored, and Dan Cloutier made 22 saves to help
the Canucks win consecutive games for the first time since star
forward Todd Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely for a blindside
punch on Colorado's Steve Moore. Vancouver, 3-3-2-1 since the
suspension, also moved one point behind Colorado in the Northwest
"We've had to deal with a lot of adversity here," Morrison
said. "I'm not making any excuses, a lot teams go through it, but
these last few games are a step in the right direction."
Playing without suspended goalie Marty Turco, three top
defensemen and a couple of key forwards, the fourth-place Stars
still moved within four points of San Jose for first place in the
Pacific Division. Dallas will play in San Jose on Sunday.
"At this time of year every point is important and that (point)
still controls our destiny against them and gives us a chance to
still catch San Jose," Tugnutt said. "Two would have been nice,
but we have to move past that now."
Sedin's goal was his first in 15 games since scoring four
against Detroit on Feb. 24. ... Dallas C Jason Arnott returned
after missing the previous game because of a groin injury, but C
Stu Barnes missed a second straight game with an upper body injury.
RW Jere Lehtinen sat out his third game with back spasms. ...