Hughes Stars

Thursday night is going to be another challenge for the Vancouver Canucks as they host the Dallas Stars in a battle that sees the top two teams from the Western Conference battle in this late-season matchup.

This will be the third game of the season between the Canucks and Stars. The Canucks took game one in commanding fashion – picking up a 2-0 win on November 4th. The Stars punched back on December 21st with a 4-3 overtime win of their own.

Now, we set up for the rubber match as the two clubs continue to prep themselves for the playoffs.

The Canucks lead the Pacific Division with a 45-19-8 record and a .681% point percentage.

The Stars lead the Central Division with a 45-19-9 record and a .678% point percentage.

Dallas is led by high-end scoring depth, and this shows in droves with seven players eclipsing the 20-goal mark. 20-year-old Wyatt Johnston leads the way, lighting the lamp 28 times in 73 games.

Jason Robertson is the leading point-getter for the Stars, he’s up to 74 points in 73 games. Joe Pavelski continues to score goals in this league and is up to 25 goals, including leading the Stars with 10 power play tucks.

Miro Heiskanen is the leader of the defence corps. He is averaging 24:30 ice time per game and has scored eight goals and added 40 assists. Heiskanen quarterbacks the Stars’ top power play unit that has Robertson and Pavelski along with Roope Hintz and Jamie Benn.

Between the pipes, Jake Oettinger has carried the bulk of the load this season – starting in 45 of their 73 games played. Oettinger has a 28-13-4 record and a .898% save percentage this season.

Quick Hits on the Competition:

  • The Stars have the 9th-ranked power play in the league and are clicking at 23.4%.
  • As for their penalty kill, they are 11th-ranked, killing off 81.1% of their penalties this season.
  • Defenceman Jani Hakanpää leads the Stars with 196 hits. That is tied for 18th in the league.
  • The Stars do an excellent job sticking to their structure and because of that, they have impressive possession numbers at five-on-five. They rank in the top-five for Corsi, expected goal share, control of scoring chances, and control of high-dangers Corsi.
  • Victoria-born Jamie Benn is one of the top faceoff takers in the league and has won 61.9% of his draws this season.

Thursday night’s game is the second-last game of the mammoth nine-game homestand. The Canucks have gone 4-2-1 on home ice over the past three weeks.

Brock Boeser picked up his 37th goal of the season on Monday night and continues to build on the most offensively productive season of his NHL career. The 27-year-old is 23 shots on net away from passing his career-high for shots on net and his 15 power play goals are already a career-best for Boeser.

On top of his offensive production, Boeser has shown well in his own zone. No Canucks forward has been better in terms of goals against per minute played. Boeser has played 289 minutes at five-on-five in the past 20 games and has only been on the ice for six goals against. In that time, Boeser was on the ice for 13 goals scored at five-on-five.

The Canucks have gone five games without allowing a power play goal against and that has helped raise their penalty kill to 79.7% which puts them at 15th in the league. Ian Cole has been the leader in shorthanded ice time this season, followed by Tyler Myers and Filip Hronek.

J.T. Miller passed 200 hits for the second consecutive season on Monday night. His 201 hits this season put him 14th in the league and his 91 points have him at 10th. He is going to be loud and active in every game and it is showing up on the stat sheets.

Thursday’s game is a 7:00 pm PT start time and it’s going to be a heck of a matchup between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet or listen to former BCIT standout Brendan Batchelor on the radio play-by-play call with Sportsnet 650 and the Sportsnet Radio Network.