Canucks move within a point of Blues
|Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider blocks a shot during the second period of their NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Vancouver, British Columbia March 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
VANCOUVER - Maxim Lapierre had a goal and two assists and the Vancouver Canucks handled the Dallas Stars, 5-2, on Friday at Rogers Arena.
Chris Higgins, Sami Salo, Alexandre Burrows and Andrew Alberts also lit the lamp and Henrik Sedin contributed three assists for the Canucks, who have won five straight. Cory Schneider made 28 saves in the win.
Vancouver moved to within one point of the idle St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining.
"I think he's a big key to where we are in the standings," Sedin said of Lapierre. "He's a guy that's a fourth-liner, but he's a much better player than that. We have a lot of guys on this team who play certain roles, where on other teams they might not have that role."
Steve Ott and Jake Dowell scored for the Stars, who have dropped two of their last three. Kari Lehtonen gave up four goals on 30 shots while Richard Bachman allowed one on four shots.
The loss, combined with a Los Angeles victory over Edmonton on Friday, dropped Dallas to seventh place in the Western Conference with four games left.
Vancouver opened the scoring 6:17 of the first period after Jannik Hansen found a loose puck in the neutral zone and powered his way through the defense and across the offensive blue line. He was stopped just inside the line, but found a wide open Higgins, who snapped it through the legs of Lehtonen.
The Stars tied it at 1-1 at 3:16 of the second period off a faceoff to the left of Schneider. Jamie Benn found the puck off a scramble in the circle and got a shot off that was stopped by the Canucks netminder, but Ott was parked on the doorstep and slammed it home.
Vancouver took control of the game after that, scoring four consecutive goals.
Skating on the power play, the Canucks took the lead when Salo blasted one through traffic and past Lehtonen at 11:01 of the second period, and it was 3-1 for Vancouver after Alberts accepted a pass in the high slot from Sedin and fired it into the net with 3:35 showing on the second period clock.
Just over nine minutes into the third period, the Canucks made it 4-1 after Sedin fired a shot on goal from the right circle that was initially stopped by Lehtonen, but he left the rebound sitting out front and Burrows was there to bury it.
Lapierre capped the scoring for the Canucks at 11:18 after he accepted a deft feed in the slot from Marc-Andre Gragnani and fired a rising wrist shot over the glove of Bachman.
Dowell got one back for the Stars at the 17:18 mark of the final period when he rammed it home off a feed from Tomas Vincour, but it was too late for Dallas to make a comeback.
"We were focused tonight, we played well," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We just didn't get anything to go in, we made a few mistakes that cost us and you can't do that against Vancouver."
Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury...Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo was scratched during warm- ups...Higgins has four goals in his last four games...Ott snapped a 15-game goalless drought...Vancouver improved to 31-0-2 when leading after two periods this season...The Canucks finished 1-for-3 with the man advantage, while the Stars failed to score on their only power play chance.