Canucks survive Stars
The Vancouver Canucks allowed the Dallas Stars a point late in their game on Sunday night but recovered for a 4-3 shootout victory at GM Place.
Jamie Benn, who played for the Kelowna Rockets in junior hockey, got his first NHL goal at 18:27 of the third to get the Stars the point after Willie Mitchell had put the Canucks up earlier in the period.
After an uneventful overtime, Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler both beat Marty Turco in the shootout. Neither Brad Richards nor Mike Ribeiro could get the puck by Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
"It was a sloppy game as far as both sides, but we found a way to battle it out," said Luongo. "That was not the way we wanted to win, but we found a way to win."
Turco has now lost all three of his shootouts this season.
"We've got to get the shootout figured out," Stars coach Marc Crawford said.
"We've worked at it, we've filmed it, we've actually done a lot of work with it. It s a big part of the game now. It's the difference between somebody making the playoffs and not making the playoffs and 0-for-3 is not a stat we like."
Kesler and Alex Burrows scored on the man advantage in the first half of the game for Vancouver (2-3). The Canucks have connected on five of their last nine power-play opportunities to help them rebound after starting the season with three consecutive losses.
"It could have been better. It could have been a lot worse, too," Burrows said.
"That last goal we'd like back. It's never good to give up a goal that late, especially off the rush. But at same time, we found a way to get it done. It wasn't pretty but we got the two points and that's most important."
Henrik Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson each registered two assists, with Luongo making 33 saves in net.
Richards and Ribeiro each notched a goal and an assist for the Stars. Ribeiro got credit on the first goal of the game when Rick Rypien of the Canucks accidentally knocked the puck into his own net.
Brenden Morrow had two assists while Turco finished with 22 saves for Dallas.
Crawford has seen his team get points in each of four games this season, but they have just one victory (1-0-3).
Vancouver was playing the first of several games without Daniel Sedin, who has a broken bone in his left foot. Sedin, who missed just one game over the last five seasons, will be out at least four weeks.
The Canucks started poorly, taking three minor penalties just over six minutes into the game.
Sami Salo left in the first with an undisclosed injury but played long enough to be in the penalty box as Dallas went up at the 6:09 mark.
Ribeiro got credit for the goal as his fake slapshot pass attempt was re-directed into the net by Rypien.
Guillaume Desbiens made his NHL debut for the Canucks but took a penalty shortly after the Rypien misplay. Vancouver would actually have a better scoring chance than Dallas with Desbiens in the box, as Turco was forced to make a right pad save on Sedin on a two-on-one.
Turco then muffled a Burrows volley when the Canucks had the man advantage late in the period.
Vancouver buzzed around on the opportunity. Wellwood set up Samuelsson at the side of the net but the big Swede couldn't get a clean shot.
The Canucks kept attacking and Kesler made good at 14:45, creeping in from the right point and firing past Turco's glove.
It looked as though the teams would head to the second intermission with the same score. Turco was bowled over by a Steve Bernier wristshot midway through the period but kept the puck out while Luongo easily handled a Ribeiro slapshot from a sharp angle.
But Burrows completed a pretty passing play with Morrow in the box to put the Canucks ahead for the first time in the game at 16:46 of the second.
Mitchell turns scorer
Sedin fed Burrows, who completed a give-and-go with Samuelsson by outmanoeuvring Turco in the crease.
Loui Eriksson of Dallas snuck behind the Vancouver defence and had a breakaway attempt in the late stages of the stanza but Luongo made the save.
Richards caught Luongo and Kevin Bieksa napping on the 2-2 goal just under five minutes into the third.
Richards took the shot and skated by two players to pick up the rebound, deking Luongo and stuffing the puck just inside the right post.
The Canucks replied under two minutes later. Sedin set up shop behind the Dallas net and lifted the puck into the slot, where Mitchell swooped in and put it home.
Mitchell has two goals in the team's first five games, never having scored more than three in an entire regular season in his career.
With just over two minutes left, Turco committed a stickhandling error that led to a great Mason Raymond chance but the Stars goalie sprawled to keep his team alive.
It proved critical as seconds later Benn outskated Burrows into the Vancouver end and took a Ribeiro pass in stride to beat Luongo.
Wellwood and Kesler took different approaches in the shootout. Wellwood made several stick moves, faking to the backhand before tucking it home on the forehand while Kesler snapped a shot from distance inside the right post.
Richards had Luongo on the move but could not get the puck on net, with Ribeiro shooting right into the torso of the Canucks netminder.
Vancouver has four days off before playing on consecutive nights beginning Friday in Calgary.
With files from The Canadian Press