Lehtonen hits milestone as Stars down Canucks
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Erik Cole picked up a goal and two assists as Dallas downed Vancouver, 4-1, at American Airlines Center.
Valeri Nichushkin, Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour also lit the lamp for the Stars, who have won three of their last four, including consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.
"We can't be a team that's going to win three and lose two or lose three and win one," said Cole. "It's not going to gain any ground especially in the west. We all know what a big stretch of games this is against the opponents that we are playing, it's all teams we are chasing. It's nice we were able to get another two [points] here, especially at home where we've struggled."
Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley each added a pair of assists while Kari Lehtonen picked up his 100th win for Dallas thanks to 27 saves.
Chris Higgins netted the lone score for the Canucks, whose eight-game point streak (7-0-1) came to an end.
Roberto Luongo was pulled after yielding four goals on 19 shots in 42-plus minutes. Eddie Lack finished the contest with seven saves.
The Stars essentially wrapped up the game with two goals 15 seconds apart within the first five minutes of regulation.
Benn opened the scoring for the hosts at 4:34 by flipping home a Seguin pass from the high slot, then Sceviour doubled the advantage at 4:49 by going hard to the net and tapping in a Peverley feed from the right post.
"It was tough start, going down two goals early," said Luongo. "Obviously not the way we want to start a game."
Higgins halved the deficit at 7:38 with a high wrister from the right wing off a 2-on-1 rush, but Vancouver failed to generate offense thereafter.
Cole restored Dallas' two-goal edge on a marker with 3:04 left in the second period and Nichushkin chased Luongo for good at 2:23 of the third.
Lehtonen has 194 career victories, the other 94 coming with Atlanta from 2004-09 ... Cole's three points are a season high, and his most in one contest since recording a hat trick for Montreal in a 5-1 win over Ottawa on Mar. 23, 2012 ... The Stars won for just the third time in their last eight home games against the Canucks.
12/20 00:55:42 ET