The Canucks, who lost 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche Thursday, had Friday off before skating Saturday morning. Missing from an otherwise fully attended skate were Zack Kassian and Ryan Miller; Kassian has missed the last six games with an undisclosed injury, while Miller skated prior to the team this morning and remains on track in his recovery.
The Stars played Friday night, suffering a 4-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and with only seven games left, Dallas is eight points removed from the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
The second last Canucks Saturday night regular season home game is a big one – go figure.
“This is a team that has played some good hockey of late, they’ve won 10 of their last 12 games,” said Kevin Bieksa. “They’re on the outside of the playoffs looking in and probably feel just like Colorado that they have to run the table just to give themselves a bit of a chance, so we have to be very cautious and get the lead.”
The Canucks are 0-2-0 against the Stars this year having been outscored 8-3.
Coach Willie Desjardins hinted that no line-up changes are in store for the Canucks, who hit the road Sunday for their final road trip of the season, a four-game gaunt against four teams currently locked into playoff spots.
Leaving Vancouver with a win would be ideal.
Alex Edler, who has led the Canucks in time on ice on 54 occasions this year, said the team has moved on from their loss two nights ago and that if their battle level improves, they’ll have a shot at beating the Stars.
Shawn Matthias isn’t alone in hoping for a big bounce back game for the Canucks, who have responded from bad losses with wins of late, including a win over the St. Louis Blues after losing to the Buffalo Sabres and a victory against the Los Angeles Kings following a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Canucks sit two points ahead of the Kings for second in the Pacific Division; LA is also in action Saturday facing the Wild in Minnesota.