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Canucks' top line provides clutch offence in 3-2 win over Stars

VANCOUVER - Daniel Sedin helped the Vancouver Canucks' top line get back on track with a couple of easy goals.

The Swedish sniper was in the right place at the right time for two third-period goals, including the winner, as the Vancouver Canucks earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

"The first one was an easy tap-in, and the second one was the same thing - the rebound was right there," Sedin said. "They were nice goals to get."

The goals broke a mini slump for Sedin that saw him score just once in six games. And they reaffirmed that Vancouver's top line is back on track as Sedin, brother Henrik and fellow linemate Markus Naslund have combined for 11 points in their past two games.

Prior to that, the trio had just five points in five games.

"It's going to be up and down during the season," Daniel Sedin said of his line's production. "On that road trip (seven on the road in eight games) I think a lot of guys were tired and so were we. It was a grind. But I think we're back now with a little bit more energy."

Mason Raymond also scored for Vancouver (19-12-4), which won its second straight home game."

Jussi Jokinen and Antti Miettinen replied for Dallas (19-12-4), which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Sedin scored the winning goal on a two-man advantage midway through a busy third period that saw the teams score two goals each.

With Dallas forwards Niklas Hagman and Brenden Morrow in the penalty box, Sedin parked himself in front of the net and poked a Mattias Ohlund rebound past Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

The goal was Sedin's fifth game-winner of the season, putting him into a tie for first place in the league with Patrick Sharp of Chicago and Jeremy Roenick of San Jose.

"We gave up that 5-on-3 goal, which was a penalty we shouldn't take," said Stars coach Dave Tippett. "It's a tough road back. Give our guys credit. We hung around but came up a little short."

The Stars fell short in large part because of Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo, who was given some added motivation prior to the game when Turco and Mike Smith took a shot at the size of Luongo's equipment.

During Thursday's morning skate, the Dallas netminders wore sizeable cardboard flaps on the sides of their pads with Luongo's No. 1 scribbled on them. It was a clear message they feel Luongo's pads are too big.

"(Equipment size) was reduced last year and this year they made them smaller," a terse Luongo said after his 33-save performance. "So it's not an issue and I don't want to talk about it anymore."

Turco said he wasn't trying to get under Luongo's skin.

"People tend to over-hype a little bit," said Turco, who made 27 saves. "We're good buddies. I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. We're all in this together."

Luongo responded to the gesture by doing what he does best: stopping pucks.

The 27-year-old kept the Canucks in the game during a first period dominated by Dallas, stopping 11 shots, and made several highlight-reel saves throughout the rest of the game.

He robbed Mike Ribeiro on a point-blank one-timer in the second period and stymied a Mike Modano chance with 2:50 remaining in the game and the Stars buzzing.

"He looked like the same goalie who plays all the time against us," Tippett said of Luongo.

Heading into the third period, the Canucks held a 1-0 lead on rookie Raymond's second career goal in 14 games.

Sedin made it 2-0 early in the third period by depositing a rebound from a Naslund shot behind Turco.

Jokinen responded three minutes later on Luongo's lone gaffe of the game.

Hagman stole the puck from Luongo behind the Vancouver goal, then fed Loui Eriksson who in turn passed to Jokinen for a tap-in.

Miettinen made it 3-2 with 7:44 remaining, chipping a rebound over Luongo's shoulder.

Notes: This was the first meeting between these teams since the Canucks eliminated Dallas in seven games in the first round of last season's playoffs. ... Luongo was credited with a second assist on Raymond's goal. ... Following a 1-6-0 start to the season on home ice, the Canucks are 8-0-2 at GM Place. They haven't lost in regulation at home since a 3-0 defeat to Nashville on Nov. 1. ... Canuck rookie Jason Jaffray had a pretty goal nullified because of a Taylor Pyatt interference penalty. Miettinen scored on the ensuing power play.



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