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With new backup goalies, Canucks face Stars

by Eric Goodman /

CANUCKS (28-26-10) at STARS (29-23-10)


Last 10: Vancouver 1-8-1; Dallas 5-3-2

Season series: The Dallas Stars defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the previous two games this season. Dallas seeks to extend its winning streak against Vancouver to four.

Big story: The Canucks and Stars made separate trades with the Florida Panthers involving goaltenders prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. Tuesday, Vancouver traded four-time All-Star and Jennings Trophy-winning goaltender Roberto Luongo and left-wing prospect Steven Anthony for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. Wednesday, Dallas acquired goaltender Tim Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy recipient and winner of the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup as a member of the Boston Bruins, for backup goalie Dan Ellis.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver has been rapidly losing ground in the Western Conference with losses in 10 of its past 11 games (1-9-1), so making a major move at the deadline was not a surprise. Goalie Eddie Lack had a 1.25 goals-against average starting the past four games for the Canucks and appeared to pose a serious challenge to Luongo for the permanent No. 1 position.

"We had to get cap compliant in a changing marketplace," Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said Tuesday regarding the Luongo trade. "We feel really confident in Eddie Lack, and Jacob is another really good, young goaltender with good size that fits with how we have to play, so I'm comfortable with it."

Stars: Goaltender Kari Lehtonen has shouldered a bulk of the load for the Stars this season, ranking second in the NHL as of Wednesday with 50 games started. Adding a player with the experience of Thomas should help give Lehtonen needed rest down the stretch as Dallas tries to protect its current hold on the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the West.

"We've liked how [Thomas has] played. He's played very well. He's experienced," Nill said. "I think it is going to be good for Kari Lehtonen to see a guy, how he prepares, how he handles pressure. Kari is kind of growing into this role. It's Kari's team still, but when we have back-to-back games or four games in six nights, he knows there is somebody that can go into the net and the team is going to continue to win. That's very important."

Who's hot: Matthias joins the Canucks with five points (three goals) in the past two games. ... Stars captain Jamie Benn has a goal and five assists in the past five games.

Injury report: Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (leg) is out indefinitely with no timetable for a return. Defenseman Yannick Weber (upper body) is day-to-day. Forward Mike Santorelli (right shoulder surgery) and defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) are on injured reserve. ... Stars center Rich Peverley (upper body) was injured Monday against the Buffalo Sabres and missed the game Tuesday at Columbus. A return by Peverley to the lineup Thursday has not yet been confirmed, but Peverley's replacement, forward Chris Mueller, was assigned to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

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