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Canucks, Stars meet for second time in week

by Tal Pinchevsky

CANUCKS (8-3-4) at STARS (8-7-1)


Last 10: Vancouver 6-1-3; Dallas 6-4-0

Season series: Playing their second of three meetings this season, these teams will meet for the second time in a week before completing their season series on April 18. Dallas won the first matchup 4-3 on Feb. 15, although Vancouver held a slight 2-1-1 edge in last season's series.

Big story: Both teams have struggled lately and while Vancouver is rotating two hot goalies, Dallas is missing their franchise netminder, Kari Lehtonen, who is out with an injury.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Since enjoying a six-game win streak, Vancouver has lost three straight games, although two of those losses have been in the shootout. While much of the headlines surrounding the Canucks have been around the constant rotation between their highly-skilled -- and highly-paid -- goaltending duo of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, the team has showed some mettle lately.

Two nights after blowing a third-period lead against Dallas, the Canucks came from behind Sunday against St. Louis, getting a power-play goal from Mason Raymond with 1:47 remaining in the third to tie the game. The Blues won 4-3 in the shootout, to hand Vancouver a 2-1-1 record on its four-game homestand.

Opening up a four-game road trip Tuesday in Chicago, Vancouver again came from behind against the League's hottest team. Down 3-1 with less than three minutes to play, Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieksa scored to send the game to overtime. Once again, the Canucks were undone in the shootout, but the team has now earned points in nine of its last 10 games.

Stars: Almost as surprising as the Stars' strong play early this season has been their inability to compete against the last-place Calgary Flames, who have earned two of their five wins against the Stars in the last week. Following a disappointing 7-4 loss in Calgary on Feb. 13, the Stars appeared to get their footing with their come-from-behind win in Vancouver. But opening a three-game homestand Sunday against Calgary, the Stars again were caught flat-footed.

Playing Calgary for the second time in four days, Dallas scored three goals in the second period to take a commanding 3-1 lead. But Roman Horak and Matt Stajan scored their first goals of the season just 45 seconds apart early in the third to tie the game. Steve Begin then scored his first goal since May 1, 2010 to give Calgary a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

"It's very disappointing that we didn't come out with two points here at home," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We needed to be stronger in front of our net. You've got to be battle-ready for 60 minutes. I think we just lost some battles."

Who's hot: Daniel Sedin has five points in his last three games, while brother Henrik Sedin has six points in that span. After going pointless in his first eight games, Bieksa has three goals in his last five games. … Dallas rookie Reilly Smith has goals in consecutive games. Michael Ryder has four points (all assists) in his last four games, while Derek Roy has seven points in seven games since returning from injury on Feb. 4.

Injury report: Vancouver is missing forward Manny Malhotra, who is on IR and out for the year. … Along with Lehtonen, who is out with a strained groin, Dallas is missing Ray Whitney (broken foot) and Trevor Daley (upper body).

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