- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - Ryan Kesler and Mats Sundin each had a goal and an assist, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Tuesday night to set a franchise record with their 10th straight home win.

Daniel Sedin also scored, and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for the Canucks, who moved into a tie with slumping Chicago for fourth place in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

Steve Ott pulled the Stars within a goal eight minutes into the third, but Steve Bernier restored the two-goal cushion with 5 minutes left, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play on a 4-on-2 rush into the Dallas end.

Vancouver’s streak, which broke the mark set in 1992, started right after the Canucks lost nine straight at home. They are 15-3-1 since that skid ended.

Stephane Robidas scored on a first-period power play, and Marty Turco stopped 21 shots as the injury-riddled Stars had a two-game win streak snapped.

Kesler put the Canucks ahead 7 minutes into the second period on a pretty individual effort, and helped set up Sundin’s insurance goal on the power play less than 4 minutes later. After hustling to clear the zone and avoid an offside, Kesler took a pass at the blue line and split the defense. He lifted a backhand over Turco’s shoulder while being taken down by Trevor Daley.

On Sundin’s goal, Kesler beat two Stars to a loose puck behind the net and fed it into the corner for Kyle Wellwood, who snapped a quick pass to Sundin alone in front. Sundin, who also earned the second assist on Kesler’s goal, one-timed a shot under Turco for his eighth point in eight games.

Sedin and Robidas traded power-play goals in the first period, with Sedin ending a 10-game goal drought when his no-look backhand pass through the crease bounced in off Robidas as he tried to block the shot. The Dallas defenseman got a break of his own 10 minutes later with a fluttering one-timer from the point that somehow went through a crowd in front, by Luongo, off the post, and in.

The Stars got top-six forward Jere Lehtinen back after he missed six games due to an upper-body injury, but they are still missing forwards Brad Richards (broken wrist), Fabian Brunnstrom (upper body), Toby Peterson (foot) and Mark Parrish (head).

Vancouver converted both power-play opportunities, and the Stars went 1-for-6 with the man advantage, including a failed 46-second 5-on-3 early in the third.

Notes:@ Richards, third in Stars scoring with 48 points despite missing 14 games because of a broken wrist, practiced for the first time at the game-day skate Tuesday. Coach Dave Tippett said Richards could return by the end of the week, ahead of the original 6-to-8 week timeline. Brunnstrom also practiced Tuesday and is close to returning. … Turco came in with a 17-4-1 record and 1.72 goals-against average in his career against the Canucks. … Dallas C Mike Ribiero extended his point streak to eight games (four goals, seven assists) with an assist on Ott’s goal.

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