Cody Eakin, Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney scored goals early in the third period to break open a tie game and help the Dallas Stars cruise to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
Vernon Fiddler and Erik Cole also found the back of the net and Kari Lehtonen returned from a three-game absence due to a groin injury to stop 37 shots for the Stars, who are 6-1-0 in their last seven games.
Dallas moved into a tie with Detroit for ninth in the Western Conference, trailing Columbus for the eighth and final playoff spot by two points. The Stars have five games remaining, including one against the Blue Jackets in Dallas on April 25 and the finale against Detroit at home on April 27.
Derek Roy, who was traded from Dallas at the trade deadline on April 2, scored for Vancouver, which had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win. The Canucks lead the Northwest Division by four points over Minnesota, which was playing San Jose in a late game.
Cory Schneider made 25 save...