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Stars fall, drop out of Pacific lead

Vancouver Canucks' Dale Weise, left, falls to the ice in front of Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, of Finland, after being tripped by Adam Pardy, not pictured, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, March 30, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver Canucks' Dale Weise, left, falls to the ice in front of Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, of Finland, after being tripped by Adam Pardy, not pictured, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, March 30, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
March 31, 2012
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Max Lapierre had a goal and two assists, Henrik Sedin added three assists and the Vancouver Canucks beat Dallas 5-2 on Friday night, dropping the Stars from the third seed in the Western Conference to the seventh spot.

The Canucks won their fifth straight to move within a point of St. Louis for the Western Conference lead. Vancouver is two points behind the New York Rangers for the overall lead.

Chris Higgins, Sami Salo, Andrew Alberts and Alex Burrows also scored for the Canucks.

Cory Schneider made 32 saves for his 12th victory in his past 14 starts. He was a surprise starter after Roberto Luongo left the pregame warmups early.

Steve Ott and Jake Dowell scored for Dallas. The Stars began the night with the Pacific Division lead, but dropped a point behind Los Angeles after the Kings beat Edmonton. Dallas and Phoenix are in the final two playoff spots in the conference with 89 points. The Stars, Los Angeles and Phoenix all have four games left.

Luongo skated off the ice with about 4 minutes to go in the warmups. Schneider went between the pipes at the start of the game, while Luongo took his place on the bench as the backup. It was Schneider's second straight start. He shut out Colorado 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault juggled his top forward line, putting Lapierre with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. Lapierre filled in for Daniel Sedin, who missed his fifth consecutive game because of a concussion.

Higgins opened the scoring 6:17 into the game, putting in a pass from Jannik Hansen after the puck bounced off Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski. It was the fourth goal in four games for Higgins, who scored the lone goal against Colorado.

Ott tied it off his own rebound at 3:16 of the second period.

Salo scored on a power play with 8:59 left in the period, and Alberts made it 3-1 with 3:35 to go. Alberts ended his scoring drought at 28 games.

Burrows made it 4-1 midway through the third period. Less than a minute after the goal, Kari Lehtonen was replaced in the Dallas net by Richard Bachman.

About a minute later, Lapierre scored on Vancouver's first shot on Bachman. Dowell closed out the scoring with 2:42 left.

Notes: Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa missed his second straight game. Associate coach Rick Bowness said the team continues to give him "maintenance days." ... Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) and winger Radek Dvorak (undisclosed upper-body problem) remained out.

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