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At the Rink: Canucks at Stars

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are the only team in the NHL yet to lose consecutive games this season, a trend coach Lindy Ruff wants to continue against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-SW, SNP).

“Well, I feel we get back to playing just solid two-way hockey [after a loss],” Ruff said. “We’ve been good at getting right back to the game we need to play, so it’s led to success for us.”

Ruff is keeping his forward lines intact from a 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, which ended a five-game winning streak for Dallas (17-5-0).

“It brings you back down to earth,” captain Jamie Benn said. “You learn that any team can come in here and whip your butt. It was embarrassing for us, especially in our home rink and in front of our home fans. We don’t want that to happen again.”

However, Ruff is making a change to his defensive pairs. Jason Demers, who missed the game Tuesday with a lower-body injury, returns to the second pair alongside Johnny Oduya.

Jordie Benn, who filled in for Demers on Tuesday, returns to his normal spot in the third pair alongside Jyrki Jokipakka, making Jamie Oleksiak, who had played alongside Jokipakka against Ottawa, a likely scratch.

Goalie Antti Niemi was first off the ice at the morning skate and will make his third consecutive start for Dallas. Niemi started Tuesday but was pulled for Kari Lehtonen in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game.

Niemi returned after Lehtonen sustained a lower-body injury early in the third.

With Lehtonen sidelined, Dallas recalled Jack Campbell, its top pick in the 2010 NHL Draft (11th overall), from Texas of the American Hockey League.

Lehtonen skated Friday away from the team. Ruff said he expects Lehtonen to travel with the team for its upcoming four-game road trip.

Vancouver (9-8-6), who has lost eight straight against Dallas, defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center to start its four-game road trip.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins is keeping his defensive pairs and most of his forward lines intact from that win, with one minor exception.

On the right side of the third line, Sven Baertschi is in for Jake Virtanen, who will likely be scratched. Baertschi will skate alongside Alexandre Burrows on the left and Bo Horvat at center.

The Canucks held an optional skate Friday morning but Desjardins said goalie Ryan Miller will start a third consecutive game.

In its last trip to Dallas on Oct. 29, Vancouver blew a 3-1 lead early in the third period and eventually lost 4-3 in overtime, a scenario Desjardins doesn’t want to repeat.

“They’re a team that can do that on you. They were down 5-1 to Ottawa and you knew that game wasn’t over,” Desjardins said. “They’ll just do that to a lot of teams. It wasn’t that we’re an exception. I think that’s just the way that team is. We have to stay on top of them.”

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel SedinHenrik SedinJannik Hansen

Chris Higgins - Jared McCannRadim Vrbata

Alexandre Burrows - Bo HorvatSven Baertschi

Brandon PrustAdam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander EdlerChristopher Tanev

Dan HamhuisYannick Weber

Luca Sbisa - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Ben Hutton (lower body), Brandon Sutter (abdominal)

Scratched: Andrey Pedan, Jake Virtanen


Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinValeri Nichushkin

Colton SceviourVernon FiddlerAles Hemsky

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

Injured: Kari Lehtonen (upper body)

Status report: Baertschi returns to the ice after being a healthy scratch Tuesday at Minnesota. … Nemeth was recalled from a conditioning assignment with Texas of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Nemeth had one assist in eight AHL games.

Who’s hot: Daniel Sedin is fourth in the NHL with 25 points (15 assists) and is on a six-game point streak. … Jamie Benn is on a six-game point streak. Benn had three points (two goals, assist) in the loss against the Senators, his NHL-leading 10th multi-point game of the season.

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