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Stars Look To Start New Road Winning Streak In Vancouver

(Sports Network) - Hoping to remain atop the Western Conference standings, the Canucks aren't comforted by the fact that three of their last four losses have come past regulation.

Northwest Division-leading Vancouver looks to avoid dropping five straight for the first time in two years this evening as they play host to a Dallas Stars club tonight at Rogers Arena that just had the longest road winning streak in team history snapped.

The Canucks charged to the top of the conference standings with a club-record 14-0-3 run from Dec. 8-Jan. 11, but are just 1-2-3 since. Vancouver's current four-game slide began with a 4-0 setback in Minnesota on Jan. 16 and the club has since dropped three in a row after 65 minutes.

A second straight shootout loss occurred on Saturday versus Calgary as Alex Tanguay had the winner for the Flames in the third round.

After Vancouver's Ryan Kesler missed the net, Tanguay flicked a backhander that got lost in the equipment of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, whose momentum propelled him over the goal line.

Although the officials initially ruled no goal, a video review overturned the call and assured the extra point for Calgary.

"I didn't know where the put was," said Luongo, who made 30 saves. "We seem to be ending up on the wrong end of one-goal games."

Alexander Edler lit the lamp twice for Vancouver, which hasn't lost five straight since an eight-game skid from Jan. 9-31, 2009. Still, the Canucks are three points up on Detroit for the most in the conference and 13 ahead of Colorado for first place in the division.

Vancouver is also two points back of Philadelphia for the most in the NHL and hasn't lost at home in regulation since Dec. 5, going 7-0-4.

Dallas could test that might this evening after recently putting together a club-record eight-game road winning streak. That burst came to an end on Friday with a 7-4 loss to Calgary.

Brad Richards had a goal and an assist, while Nicklas Grossman, Brenden Morrow and James Neal all added goals for the Stars, who had allowed just six goals over a five-game winning streak. However, Andrew Raycroft yielded seven tallies on 19 shots as Dallas fell to 7-1-1 in January.

"We didn't get a very good performance from our goaltender tonight," said Dallas head coach Marc Crawford. "Then we made a big mistake in the third period after we got it close. In a game like this, you have to keep the opponents' chances to a minimum. We battled back, but it wasn't enough."

Mike Ribeiro had three assists to run his career-high point streak to 11 straight games. He has four goals and 10 helpers over the run, as well as a goal and four assists in his last six games versus the Canucks.

Pacific Division-leading Dallas, which is four points behind Vancouver, wraps a three-game swing through Western Canada and should go back to Kari Lehtonen in net tonight.

Lehtonen is just 1-3-0 with a 3.29 goals-against average versus the Canucks and did not make it out of the second period when the clubs met for the first time this season on Dec. 31 in Dallas. He gave up all four goals on 14 shots in the 4-1 setback, which featured 44 saves from Canucks backup Cory Schneider.

The victory was Vancouver's third straight and sixth in its last seven games versus the Stars, who have dropped three in a row and eight of their last 11 in Vancouver.

Luongo is 11-4-2 with a 2.06 GAA in his career versus Dallas.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.