Ryan Kesler’s goal in the seventh round of a shootout gave the Canucks a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars and their first five-game winning streak since October of 2005. “We battled hard tonight and killed off some key power plays at the end,” said Kesler “It’s going good for us now and we’re just going to keep riding the train.”
The Canucks (22-18-1) won despite having to kill untimely penalties to Matt Cooke late in the third period and Daniel Sedin in overtime.
Kesler’s goal came after Vancouver’s Brendan Morrison and Jussi Jokinen of Dallas exchanged goals in the second round of the shootout before Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Dallas’ Marty Turco shut the door for four rounds.
“I was thinking about going up high but changed my mind at the last second and came backwards,” said Kesler, who scored on a backhand deke.
Turco admitted to being fooled by Kesler’s move.
“I bit hard and paid the price,” Turco said.
The win came before a sellout crowd of 18,630 at GM Place.
Before Kesler’s winner, Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo stole the show as the Stars outshot Vancouver 40-21. The Canucks held Dallas (25-15-1) scoreless on seven power play opportunities.
“We played hard and had the opportunity to get a couple of points,” said Turco. “Louie (Luongo) obviously played pretty good down there. He didn’t give us any easy ones. When you have power plays late like that you certainly want to capitalise on them.”
Luongo was lucky as well as good, as Sergei Zubov hit the post during the shootout. But Luongo was able to keep his composure after the near-goal.
“I felt good the whole game,” said Luongo. “I felt pretty confident. The only mistake I made was against Jokinen (in the shootout.) I thought he was going to go to his go-to move but instead he went to his backhand.”
Vancouver’s Mattias Ohlund scored on a first-period power play, while Loui Eriksson of the Stars replied in the second.
Ohlund gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 18:58 of the first as he one-timed a poor Dallas clearing attempt past Turco. The goal came after Turco received a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass into the crowd.
“Our first periods have really been key throughout this winning streak,” said Luongo. “We were up after the first and were playing pretty good hockey. It was a close game the rest of the way.”
Eriksson evened the score at 1-1 at 10:27 of the second as he scored on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box.
Patrik Stefan sent a long pass to Eriksson at the Vancouver blue-line and he raced in and beat Roberto Luongo with a backhand between the legs.
Luongo was sharp in the second period as he helped the Canucks kill back-to-back penalties to Sami Salo and Trevor Linden. During the second Dallas power play, Luongo kicked out a point shot by Jeff Halpern and then whipped across the crease to rob Stephane Robidas on the rebound.
Dallas outshot Vancouver 17-6 in the second period. It was Turco’s turn to come up big early in the third as he stopped Henrik Sedin on his first shot and on his rebound from the top of the crease.
Both goaltenders stood out again in a scoreless third period in which the Stars outshot the Canucks 12-5. Henrik Sedin had two more back-to-back chances in overtime, but he was foiled again by Turco.
Notes: Centre Joel Lundqvist suited up for Dallas after being recalled a day earlier from Iowa of the American Hockey League . . . Stars centre Mike Modano remained out of the lineup with an unspecified lower body injury. He has not played since Dec. 4. Fellow forwards Eric Lindros (lower body), Brenden Morrow (wrist) and Steve Ott (ankle) also sat out . . Vancouver’s last four-game win streak came between Jan. 14-21, 2006.