VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Dallas Stars are reverting back to what made them successful last season: defense.
Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist and the Stars beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 Thursday night for their sixth win in seven games.
“Stingy defense has been our bread and butter since probably halfway through the year last year,” Seguin said.
“This year early on we were maybe thinking about it too much and (now) we’ve got back into more of the natural system from last year, which is defense first, but finding greasy ways to win games. That’s what you saw tonight.”
Justin Dowling, Alexander Radulov and Blake Comeau also scored for Dallas (10-8-2). Joe Pavelski and Miro Heiskanen each added two assists. The Stars, who beat the Flames 3-1 Wednesday night in Calgary, are 6-0-1 in their last seven games.
Jake Virtanen and Troy Stecher scored for the Canucks (10-7-3). Vancouver has one win in its last six games (1-4-1).
Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for Dallas. Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots.
Seguin said the slow start helped the Stars bond.
“You like adversity sometimes,” he said. “We’re rallying around each other, we’re having complete team efforts. Just keep it rolling now.”
Seguin scored on a three-way passing play with 1:49 left in the second period to give Dallas a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. He carried the puck up ice and dropped it to Pavelski, who passed to Heiskanen. He tapped it back to Seguin, who scored for just his second goal in 16 games.
Comeau had put the Stars ahead 2-0 at 4:03 of the second. He skated around Stecher then, falling to the ice, put a backhand under Markstrom’s glove. It was his first goal in six games this season.
Virtanen cut the lead to one at 5:21. He made a drop pass to Tanner Pearson, who took a shot on goal. Khudobin made the save but gave up a rebound, which Virtanen put into the gapping net.
Stecher tied it at 11:30 with a shot from the blue line that changed direction.
Dowling scored the game’s first goal at 3:45 of the opening period. The 29-year-old from Calgary skated between two Canuck defensemen and took a pass from Seguin. He then used a toe drag and lifted the puck over Markstrom for his second goal in as many nights.
Coach Jim Montgomery said the goals showed the Stars’ skill level.
“We have a lot of skill in our lineup and a lot of players that can make plays,” he said. “But if you don’t have the will, your skill doesn’t show.
“We’re doing skill and will right now and I think that makes us a dangerous team.”
Canuck coach Travis Green was frustrated with this team’s eight giveaways.
“I thought we turned the puck over a few times that cost us,” he said. “They won a few more puck battles than we did.
“They are a heavy team. They know how to defend hard. You can’t turn the puck over against them, or they will go the other way in a hurry.”
NOTES: Vancouver played without centers Jay Beagle (lower-body injury) and Brandon Sutter (groin strain). … Tyler Graovac, called up from the Utica Comets of the AHL, was inserted into the lineup. … Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano, who left Wednesday’s game with an injury, warmed up but didn’t play. He was replaced by Rhett Gardner. … Dallas defenseman Roman Polak played his first game since fracturing his sternum in the season’s opening game. … Canuck defenseman Jordie Benn faced his brother and former Stars teammate Jamie Benn. … Actor Bill Murray was in the crowd for a second consecutive game.
Stars: At Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Canucks: Host Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.