DALLAS – Battling a sore shoulder and a scoring funk has frustrated Joel Lundqvist most of the season.
The third-year centre ended his offensive slump Friday – and he did it against one of his favourite opponents. Lundqvist gave Dallas the lead for good with his first goal of the season, and Marty Turco made 32 saves in the Stars’ 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
“I’m a forward, so I should score goals,” said Lundqvist, who has played in 25 games this season. “I haven’t been able to find the net. So it’s nice to finally get it. I didn’t even remember the feeling. But I do now.”
Lundqvist’s last goal in the regular season was March 15, 2008, against the Canucks. He scored with 3:33 left in the second to put the Stars ahead 2-1.
It was his first game-winning goal in the regular season. He has one in the playoffs, and it came against Vancouver on April 13, 2007.
Lundqvist, the twin brother of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, missed 21 games in November and December with an ailing shoulder.
“Joel had the injury earlier in the year and he’s been snake-bitten around the net,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “It’s nice to finally see him get one.”
Dallas won for the eighth time in 10 games and snapped Vancouver’s four-game winning streak.
Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who trailed 1-0 after the first period. Vancouver’s Jason LaBarbera had 28 saves in his first start since Jan. 13, and Taylor Pyatt scored for the Canucks.
“We came up flat in the second period, took a few penalties and got away from our game plan,” Pyatt said. “That cost us the game.”
Eriksson took a long pass from Turco and fed Lundqvist, who beat LaBarbera from the right circle. Turco was credited with his fourth assist of the season.
Turco, starting his 25th consecutive game to extend a club record, made a glove save on Henrik Sedin’s shot as time was about to expire in the second. Turco then made a sprawling stop on Ryan Kesler to end a power-play threat seconds into the third.
Turco, who stopped 14 shots in the third, got a little help when Alex Burrows’ shot hit the left post with a minute left in the game.
“It feels comfortable for me,” Turco said. “I’ve had the ability to track the puck and trust myself to be quick enough on ones where you have to move and find them.”
With Turco in the midst of his long string of starts, Tippett said he monitors whether his goalie needs a game off.
“We’ll continue to talk to Marty and make sure he’s feeling good,” Tippett said. “When he is, he’s given us our best chance to win.”
Pyatt beat Turco from the right circle to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 5:28 of the first.
Seconds after failing to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity, Eriksson tied it when he redirected Matt Niskanen’s shot past LaBarbera eight minutes into the second period.
Eriksson, Dallas’ leading goal scorer with 26, has four in his last eight games.
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo got the night off after starting nine straight games since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for two months.
LaBarbera has started both games for the Canucks against the Stars. He stopped 34 shots in Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to Dallas on Jan. 4.
“I felt my movement was more sharp than it’s been in the past,” LaBarbera said. “This was huge for me. I sharpened some things up.”
Notes: The Stars improved to 14-3-1 over their last 18 home games. … Dallas C Mike Modano, who had an assist, has 77 points in 67 career games against the Canucks. … Vancouver D Kevin Bieksa played in his 200th career game. … Turco improved to 17-4-1 against Vancouver.