The Canucks begin a four-game home stand tonight when they host reigning Art Ross Trophy-winner Jamie Benn and the West-leading Dallas Stars.
The Canucks' just-concluded four-game road trip wasn't quite as disappointing in terms of results compared to their seven-game trek back in November but, all the same, they're limping back home both figuratively and literally. After starting the trip on a strong note with a win in Minnesota, Vancouver dropped the final three games of the trip capping it off with a 2-1 overtime loss on Tuesday to the Kings in a game they would not have gotten a point from had it not been for the efforts of netminder Jacob Markstrom. Considering the Canucks went into that game against the Kings with three new members added to the injured list – Chris Higgins, Jake Virtanen, and Chris Tanev – getting a single point might be considered a minor victory in itself.
The banged-up Canucks didn't practice yesterday but will have a different look compared to just two days ago in Los Angeles. Ronalds Kenins, who burst onto the scene last season when he was called up from Utica (AHL), is expected to make his NHL season debut after being summoned yesterday. Other potential line-up news, including who starts in goal and whether any of the injured players are ready to return, will trickle in sometime after the morning skate. This is first and only visit for the Stars to Vancouver this season, and the third and final meeting between the two teams overall. The Stars are looking to complete the sweep of the Canucks having won both previous match-ups.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
As good as the Stars have been all season long, lately they've shown that perhaps they're not quite as invincible as they once seemed. In their last two games, specifically, they've shown a propensity for giving up goals in bunches. Last Saturday against the Wild, they fell behind 3-0 after two periods before managing a furious third period rally and winning in overtime. On Tuesday night in Calgary, they got a taste of their own medicine after blowing a 3-0 lead after two periods by giving up three in the third period and falling 4-3 in a shootout. The Stars' recent results should give the Canucks some hope that they are a fallible team but, with that said, Vancouver should already know they can never count any teams out of a game having blown their fair share of leads this season. At the same time, with all the fire power the Stars possess, spotting them a lead wouldn't be the smartest game plan either. Their blown lead to the Flames marked just the first time in 11 occasions this season that they have failed to win when leading after two periods.
One thing the Canucks know they have to be much better at doing is keeping the dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in check. Although they held the duo to just two combined points six days ago in their shootout loss to the Stars, Benn did managed to strike on the power play while recording a game-high seven shots. They did a much better job containing Seguin, who was held to just two shots on the night. Seguin leads the Stars in shots this season with an even 100, and has registered at least one shot in every single game he has played . Both Benn and Seguin had lengthy point streaks snapped on Tuesday against the Flames. Vancouver not only has to find a way to limit the shot by the Dallas snipers, but to get plenty of their own against Antti Niemi, who hasn't exactly been a brick wall of late. In his last dozen appearances, Niemi has allowed three-or-more goals on nine occasions. The Canucks, along with the Sabres (twice), are the only teams that did not manage to beat Niemi at least three times during that stretch.
Keys to the Game
#20in20 comes to life. On a night the Canucks will celebrate some of the greatest goalies to ever suit up for them at Rogers Arena, they know they desperately need a great performance from a goalie of the present whether it's Miller or Markstrom. Miller was stellar against the Stars six nights ago, while Markstrom was sensational in the loss to the Kings two nights ago. One of those two needs to step up tonight.
Cannonball Kenins. Ronalds Kenins didn't earn the reputation for being a human battering ram last season for nothing. He's the type of player whose play style can give the team a spark and the Canucks certainly could use his energy tonight.
Don't get complacent. This edition of the Stars does not have much experience with sitting at the top of the standings so they might not have learned yet that being at the top means opposing teams bring their best. They lost their focus last game and got burned. They won't want to make that same mistake again.
Canucks Game Preview
By the Numbers
Point needed by Jannik Hansen to reach 200 for his NHL career.
Home win for the Canucks the last six times they've hosted the Stars (1-4-1).
Straight games between the Canucks and Stars that have gone beyond regulation. VAN has lost all three.
Straight losses for the Canucks to the Stars in head-to-head meetings (0-6-3).
Giveaways committed by the Canucks in Tuesday's loss to the Kings. The 14th led to the game-winner.
Shots recorded by the Canucks in Tuesday's loss – their lowest total of the season.