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Canucks look to get back on track against Stars

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The Sports Network
3/24/2009 11:25:29 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks' road woes aren't likely to end in Dallas. The Canucks aim for just their second win in their last 10 games as the guest versus the Stars in tonight's battle at American Airlines Center.

Although Vancouver is eight points up on eighth-seeded Nashville in the Western Conference, putting the franchise in solid position to make the postseason for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, the club is still battling for home-ice advantage in the first round.

The Canucks are five points back of Calgary for first place in the Northwest Division, but should they fall short of that goal, are just a mere two points behind Chicago for the fourth seed in the conference.

However, Vancouver has not been helping itself with its road play down the stretch. The club is currently on a franchise-record 11-game home winning streak, but kicked off a six-game road trip on Saturday with a 5-1 loss to Phoenix, its fourth setback in a row as the guest.

Alex Burrows scored the lone Canucks goal in a game that saw teammate Shane O'Brien put the puck into his own net on a delayed penalty, a sign of just how bad things are right now on the road for Vancouver.

Roberto Luongo allowed three goals on 23 shots before being lifted in the third period for Jason LaBarbera, who made nine saves in the loss. Luongo lost for just the fourth time in his last 20 starts (16-3-1) and is 7-4-2 with a 2.02 goals against average in his career versus the Stars.

The Canucks, who are 16-13-5 on the road this year, have also struggled in Dallas, losing eight of their last nine trips there. Vancouver has also lost four of six and nine of its last 14 versus the Stars overall.

That poor stretch is partly due to Vancouver's inability to score on Marty Turco. The Dallas netminder is 17-5-1 in his career versus the Canucks with a pair of shutouts and a 1.82 GAA, his second-lowest figure against any one opponent he has faced at least 20 times.

Turco made 25 saves in Saturday's 5-2 loss in San Jose, a setback that saw Dallas end a three-game road trip without a point.

Loui Eriksson and Stephane Robidas scored for the Stars, who are 12th overall in the Western Conference and three points back of a playoff spot with 10 games to play.

Dallas thought it received a major boost to its offense versus the Sharks with the return of Brad Richards, who had missed the last 15 games due to a broken right wrist. However, Richards suffered a broken left hand in the third period and is again out indefinitely. He has 16 goals and 32 assists in 56 games this year.

The Stars begin a three-game homestand tonight and are 19-13-4 as the host this year.

Tonight marks the final regular-season meeting of the season between these two clubs.

Willie Mitchell and Alex Burrows (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
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