VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks have emphatically put the record nine-game home losing streak they suffered through early this year behind them.
The Canucks doubled the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Tuesday night to post a franchise-record 10th straight victory at home.
“No other team has done it wearing a Canucks sweater, so it’s good to have your name in the record book,” said Ryan Kesler, who paced Vancouver with a goal and an assist. “Ten in a row on home ice, that’s not easy to do nowadays.”
The record winning streak eclipses the old mark set in 1992-93 and helps the nine-game home losing skid between January and February.
Vancouver improved to 37-23-9 and moved into a fourth-place tie with Chicago in the tight Western Conference. Chicago lost 3-2 in New Jersey earlier Tuesday in a game which saw Devils goalie Martin Brodeur earn his NHL-record 552nd win.
“It’s nice to catch (Chicago),” said Canucks forward Alex Burrows. “Obviously they’ve got some injuries and right now we don’t have any injuries. It would be nice to go ahead of them and maybe start catching Calgary (for third place). “
Vancouver has gone 15-3-1 since Feb. 1. The Stars, in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, saw a two-game win streak end as they dropped to 33-29-8. The loss, the first to Vancouver in three meetings this season, left tied for ninth with Minnesota at 74 points. Nashville and Edmonton are tied for seventh with 75.
“Right now, the way we’re going we need things to go right for us, not wrong,” said Dallas coach Dave Tippett. “We got down, we just couldn’t get back in it.”
Mats Sundin’s second-period power play goal, which gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead. stood up as the winner.
Daniel Sedin, with his first goal in 11 games, and Steve Bernier also scored for the Canucks. Stephane Robidas and Steve Ott replied for the Stars, who outshot the hosts 26-25.
Special teams were ultimately the difference. The Canucks scored on both of their power-play chances while the Stars went one-for-seven on their man-advantage opportunities.
“It’s been a crutch for us all year long, the power play on the road,” said Stars veteran Mike Modano. “It’s just been something that’s cost us a lot of points over the course of the season.”
“Tonight we had a chance and it’s disappointing not to get any points,” added Dallas goaltender Marty Turco.
Vancouver’s home win streak has coincided with a much better penalty-killing effort Poor penalty killing hurt the Canucks on many nights during their losing skid.
“We had lost nine; now, we’ve won 10,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose job was considered in jeopardy during the skid. “Obviously, this is a better feeling than the other record that we set there.”
After Sedin and Robidas exchanged first-period goals, Kesler sent the Canucks ahead 2-1 at 6:55 of the second on a fine individual effort through the middle of the slot. After taking a pass from Pavol Demitra, he skated through Robidas, Trevor Daley and ex-Canuck Brendan Morrison and roofed a backhand over Dallas goaltender Turco.
“Demitra made a great play,” said Kesler, who has seven points in the past four games. “He’s a special passer and brought two guys to him and gave me that lane to the net and I was able to put it in the back of the net.”
Ott reduced the Dallas deficit to 3-2 at 8:12 of the third period as he converted a two-on-one with Chris Conner.
Bernier’s goal at 15:05 of the final frame, on a three-way passing play with Mason and Kevin Bieksa, insured the win and the record.
“Right now they’re rolling, they’ve won ten straight at home. There’s no question they look good. It’s a long way from the team that lost nine in a row. So it just goes to show how quick things can change,” Morrison said.
Notes: After playing for two teams in his first 10 seasons, Morrison is now with his second club in six months after Dallas claimed him on waivers March 4 from Anaheim . . . Sundin’s goal moved him into a tie for 20th all-time in NHL scoring with Joe Nieuwendyk at 564 . . . Vancouver assistant coach Ryan Walter played for the Canucks when they set their previous record of nine straight home wins in 1992-93. Ironically, this is Walter’s first season back in the NHL since then . . . Begin’s next game will be the 400th of his career . . . Stars’ radio and TV colour analyst Darryl Reaugh is Morrison’s brother-in-law. Morrison is staying with the Reaughs until he gets an apartment following their road trip. Morrison’s wife and four children have remained in Anaheim until he knows where he will play next season.