NHL: Vancouver 5, Dallas 2

March 31, 2012 at 12:56 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 31 (UPI) -- Sami Salo began a barrage of four unanswered goals Friday that sent the Vancouver Canucks storming past Dallas 5-2.

The Canucks moved within a point of St. Louis for the best record in the Western Conference while Dallas was knocked out of first place in the Pacific Division.

Salo gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead with 8:59 to go in the middle period. Andrew Alberts scored with 3:59 remaining in the second, and Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre scored in the third to make it 5-1.

The Stars were replaced by Los Angeles at the top of the Pacific, in which four teams are separated by a single point.

The Kings have 90 points, Dallas and Phoenix have 89 and Phoenix has 88, along with Colorado from the Northwest Division. Only three of those five clubs will reach the playoffs in a race that will likely go down to the final games of the season April 7.

Cory Schneider stopped 28 shots for Vancouver, which has won its division and has captured five in a row.

Kari Lehtonen gave up four goals on 30 shots and was removed late in the game. He will likely start again Saturday in a critical contest at San Jose.

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