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Red-hot Canucks seek 10th straight home win

By Matt Becker

Stats Senior Writer

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

there.

"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."

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

season.

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

Saturday.

"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.

Louis.

Turco has a 1.44 GAA in winning both starts against Vancouver

this season.

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