Red-hot Canucks seek 10th straight home win

Dallas (33-28-8) at Vancouver (36-23-9), 10:00 pm EDT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — In January, the Vancouver
Canucks went weeks without winning and were in danger of falling
out of the playoff race. They’ve put that slide far behind and
are now moving closer to securing home-ice advantage in the
first round of the playoffs.

The surging Canucks look to set a franchise record with their
10th straight home win Tuesday night when they face the Dallas
Stars, who are opening a difficult three-game road trip.

Vancouver ended January on an eight-game losing streak (0-5-3)
to fall into 11th in the Western Conference but very little has
gone wrong for the Canucks since.

They are a league-best 14-3-1 since the start of February and
matched a franchise record for consecutive home victories with
Sunday’s 4-2 win over Colorado.

Kyle Wellwood, Alex Burrows and Taylor Pyatt scored first-period
goals, while Ryan Kesler had three assists for Vancouver, which
last won nine straight home games November 6-December 9, 1992.

The Canucks’ turnaround has been astonishing, considering their
winning streak at GM Place came on the heels of a nine-game skid

“It’s crazy, we couldn’t buy a win a month and a half ago, we
always found a way to lose every game,” said Burrows, who has
scored in each of his last four games. “But we turned it around,
and right now we have a lot of confidence in our own building.

“That’s a good thing heading into the playoffs.”

The playoffs seemed like a long shot at the end of January, but
now the Canucks are five points back of Northwest
Division-leading Calgary and only two behind slumping Chicago in
the race for fourth and home-ice advantage.

“We wanted to exclude ourselves from the bottom three or four
teams that are fighting for a playoff spot,” said Kesler, who
has seven goals and 11 assists in his last 10 home games. “Now
we’re trying to catch Calgary and Chicago. We have them worried
about us now which is a good thing.”

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Roberto Luongo has been in net for each game of the home streak,
posting a 1.89 goals-against average in those contests. He has
started all but one game for the Canucks since the start of
February – a 2-1 loss at Dallas on February 13.

Luongo also missed Vancouver’s first game of the season against
the Stars – a 3-2 shootout home loss on January 4 – because of a
strained groin that sidelined him 24 games. He is 4-1-2 with a
1.81 GAA against the Stars since the start of the 2006-07

Dallas is one of seven teams in the mix for the final two
playoff spots in the West.

The Stars defeated Minnesota 3-2 in overtime Saturday for their
second straight victory after going 2-7-1 in their previous 10.
They have not won three straight since a season-high five-game
streak January 21-February 3.

Winning on this road trip won’t be easy for Dallas, which
travels to Calgary on Wednesday and Pacific-leading San Jose on

“Right now this is the playoffs,” said Steve Ott, who had his
first career two-goal game against the Wild. “Every single night
is a fight for that playoff spot.”

Ott’s linemates Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson assisted on both
of his goals, giving that trio 24 points in the last six games.

Marty Turco made 28 saves Saturday and has stopped 57 of 61
shots in winning his last two games after stopping five of eight
shots before being pulled in last Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to St.

Turco has a 1.44 GAA in winning both starts against Vancouver
this season.