DALLAS -- For a variety of reasons, the lineup Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault puts on the ice for Thursday night’s Western Conference game against the Dallas Stars will be different from previous games.
One reason for the shakeup is that the Canucks (8-3-4) will be without second-line wing Jannik Hansen. He received a one-game suspension from the League office for a blow to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday at United Center.
To compensate for the loss of Hansen, Vigneault will move wing Zack Kassian, who earlier this year played on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, up to the second line alongside recently returned Ryan Kesler and wing Chris Higgins.
Vigneault also revamped his defensive pairings Wednesday, moving Jason Garrison to the third pairing alongside Keith Ballard, who previously played alongside Garrison with the Florida Panthers.
The hope is that these changes might help spark the Canucks against a Stars team that trailed 3-1 in Vancouver on Friday before scoring three unanswered goals to wrap up a 2-1-0 road trip with a 4-3 win.
But Vigneault said he was weary of the Stars long before last week's third-period breakdown.
“They’ve got two real skill lines, two real competitive lines, [defensemen] that know when and how to support the attack,” he said. “It was a real solid game in our building. It’s unfortunate that there were a couple of bounces that went their way. We know we’re up against a real tough opponent tonight and we’re going to be ready for it.”