It's far too early for the Canucks to hit the panic button but it's understandable why there may be red flags popping for some in Canuck Nation. Vancouver is not only riding their longest losing streak of the season but, in their most recent outing on Saturday, they looked completely discombobulated in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers on home ice coming off a seven-game road trip. If there's a silver lining for the Canucks, it's that their four-game skid has come against teams in the Eastern Conference or, in other words, teams they won't be battling for a playoff spot against come April. That trend ends tonight, however, as the Canucks begin a stretch of six straight games against Western Conference foes starting with the Stars, a team that sits 11 points behind Vancouver in the standings but also a team many figure will make some noise in the playoff picture before all is said and done.
The Stars have been a streaky team all season long and they're hoping that they're starting to trend in the right direction against. They come into tonight's game having won two of their last three games including knocking off the Devils 4-3 on Saturday. If Dallas has any desire to get back into the thick of the playoff race, they'll need to start picking up some wins against Conference opponents. They are just 6-9-4 against the West this season and are winless in their last three straight against Conference opponents. One of their six wins against the West, however, came against the Canucks back on October 21 – a game that saw the Stars jump out to a 5-0 lead before cruising to a 6-3 win in Texas. This is the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Stars this season. They wrap up their season series on March 28 at Rogers Arena. After testing out some new line combinations in Saturday's loss to the Rangers, look for a more familiar look to Vancouver's units tonight which means that the recently-recalled Tom Sestito, fresh off a conditioning stint in the AHL, is not expected to play. Eddie Lack will be in net for the Canucks while the Stars are expected to go with regular starter Kari Lehtonen.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Figure out the break out. Scoring chances and goals can be hard enough to come by at the best of times. Imagine trying to generate them without being able to get out of your own zone. Vancouver has to find a way to move the puck up the ice tonight – something they couldn't do for two periods against the Rangers - against yet another team with great speed like the Stars.
Watch the pinching. No, we're not talking about the ones from your crazy aunt. Rather, the ones from the seemingly crazy-minded defencemen that have led to a number of odd-man rushes against in the last few outings and have resulted in goals against. The D-men must pick their spots better.
Keep riding Seguin. Tyler Seguin isn't just the hottest Star these days, he's one of the hottest players in the entire league. He's riding a four-game goal streak and a four-game point streak with seven points (5-2-7) over those outings. Earlier this season against the Canucks, he had a quiet night – that is, if you consider a goal and an assist a quiet night.
By the Numbers
Goals allowed per game by the Stars this season, most in the NHL.
Straight games with a goal for Dallas forward Tyler Seguin, tied for his career-high.
Goals allowed on 13 shots by Ryan Miller against Dallas on October 13. He was pulled that game.
Straight losses by the Canucks to the Stars dating back to April 18, 2013. (Outscored 23 to 7).
Straight games without a power play goal for the Canucks, longest such drought of the season.
Career points for Victoria-native Jamie Benn. Only one Victoria-born player has ever recorded over 300 NHL points (Lynn Patrick – 335 points from 1934.35 to 1945.46, New York Rangers).