Playing his first NHL game in his hometown, the 22-year-old defenseman scored the go-ahead goal with 3 minutes left in the third period and the Dallas Stars rallied past Vancouver 4-3 on Friday night to end the Canucks' six-game winning streak.
"It's awesome to [score the winner] in front of friends and family," Dillon said. "This is my first trip here to play in front of Rogers Arena - ever. I grew up watching guys like [Daniel and Henrik Sedin], guys like [Roberto] Luongo."
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Dillon stole the show and spoiled a record-setting night for Henrik Sedin after the Vancouver captain became the club's career scoring leader. He had two assists to give him 757 points, one more than Markus Naslund. The former teammates are from the same hometown of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
After he broke the mark, the crowd gave Henrik Sedin an extended standing ovation - even while he sat on the bench, then when he went back on the ice and during a TV timeout. During the break, the Canucks aired a video saluting him, with Naslund offering his congratulations.
Henrik Sedin responded by raising his stick and clapping in support of the crowd.
"I don't know if I should be telling too many people that I've got [posters] of [former Canuck] Pavel Bure and the Sedins on my wall back home," Dillon said. "But it was definitely a pretty cool experience to come in here and play these guys. It was an even better feeling to get the win tonight."
Reilly Smith, Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel also scored for the Stars, who overcame a 3-1 deficit to win for the fifth time in six games. Backup goalie Richard Bachman rebounded from a rough start and earned the victory in relief of injured Kari Lehtonen.
Dillon, from the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, B.C., toiled for Texas of the AHL during the NHL lockout and played only one game for Dallas last season. He gave the Stars the lead for the first time when he slid behind coverage from his defensive position and fired Jamie Benn's cross-ice pass into the top corner of the net.
"It was a great play by Benn," Dillon said. "It was right on my stick and it was awesome."
The goal was his third of the season - and his career - but he said it meant more than the first one. The winning goal Friday came before 15-20 friends and family members, whose tickets were purchased by Dillon.
"Good thing we got paid today, because I was running short [of cash] after I bought those tickets," he said.
Dillon was on the ice for Higgins' goal. Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said the rookie made up for a slow start.
"I thought that early on he was a little tentative," Gulutzan said. "But then he settled in and scored a huge goal for us.
"When you're talking young defensemen playing against some of the best players in the world on this ice right now, I think he did a pretty good job of settling himself in. ... I'm proud of the way he battled back in this game."
Lehtonen left in the first period after stopping all seven shots he faced. Gulutzan said the goalie had a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Dallas.
After allowing three goals on the first six shots he faced, Bachman stopped 15 straight shots to finish with 21 saves.
"It's never fun coming in cold," Bachman said. "That's a good team with a lot of skill, and they started running especially at the end of the second period, and then we started knocking.
"You just try to stay calm and forget about everything that's going on."
Dallas outshot Vancouver 29-28. The Stars were blanked on four power plays, while the Canucks could not convert on three.
"I don't really know what happened," Henrik Sedin said. "We played a good game up to the halfway point and then they took over. Giving up four goals 5-on-5, that never happens with this team. Even though they had a few fortunate bounces, they took over the game."
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said goalie Cory Schneider would have liked to have a couple of the Dallas goals back, but his teammates did not support him offensively.
"He's bailed us out so many times before that we need to find ways to be able to win those games when the opportunity is there," Vigneault said. "The opportunity was there and we didn't do it."
The loss also spoiled the return of Canucks center Ryan Kesler from shoulder and wrist surgery. He had an assist in his first game since last year's playoffs.
|Dallas forward Vernon Fiddler throws down with Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre during a chippy second period. (US Presswire)|
|Dallas (8-6-1) «||1||1||2||4|
|16:51||- Reilly Smith (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Eriksson, Roy|
|03:21||- Daniel Sedin (4), Backhand Shot. Assist: Sedin|
|04:14||- Chris Higgins (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Weise, Kesler|
|09:56||- Alex Burrows (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Sedin, Sedin|
|17:50||- Cody Eakin (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Daley, Ryder|
|12:22||- Antoine Roussel (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Ryder, Eakin|
|16:59||- Brenden Dillon (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Benn, Robidas|
|01:16||Dillon, 2 min, Interference|
|09:49||Roussel, 2 min, High sticking|
|31.0||Edler, 2 min, Interference|
|05:52||Garrison, 2 min, Slashing|
|12:59||Burrows, 2 min, Tripping|
|15:09||Garbutt, 5 min, Fighting|
|15:09||Volpatti, 5 min, Fighting|
|15:10||Fiddler, 5 min, Fighting|
|15:10||Lapierre, 5 min, Fighting|
|15:12||Nystrom, 5 min, Fighting|
|15:12||Weise, 5 min, Fighting|
|05:50||Weise, 2 min, Interference|
|06:57||Jagr, 2 min, Hooking|
|Shots On Goal|