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Scorching Stars hope for more home cooking vs. Canucks

Dallas looks to keep up its offensive explosion to open a four-game homestand against slumping Vancouver

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (11-8-2) vs. Canucks (10-7-4)

7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

TV: FOX Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

 

DALLAS -- This should be fun.

The Stars and Canucks played Thursday in Vancouver with Dallas taking a 4-2 win in a game that got a little chippy.

Dallas is on a 10-1-1 roll now and returns home with all sorts of momentum, but they always say the first home game is a trap game after a long road trip. Something about how players let their guard down once they get into the cozy confines of their home barn. We'll see if that happens tonight.

The Canucks have the fourth-youngest team in the league with an average age of 26.3. Elias Pettersson, 21, has 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists), Brock Boeser, 22, has 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists), and defenseman Quinn Hughes, 20, has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists).

The Canucks have been struggling lately, going 1-4-2 in their past seven games while allowing 25 goals in that span, including four to the Stars. Vancouver has been struggling overall against Dallas for some time. The Stars are 15-2-3 against the Canucks in their past 20 meetings.

Video: VAN@DAL: Stars look to replicate success vs. Canucks

Dallas' recent hot streak has coincided with an improvement in defense and goaltending. Dallas has allowed one goal on seven different occasions during the 10-1-1 run. However, it rallied to take a 5-4 overtime victory on Saturday in Edmonton, and coach Jim Montgomery said he was pleased that the team showed it could outscore a strong offensive team and also come back from a two-goal deficit in the third period.

So can Dallas keep up this offensive explosion?

We'll see. The Stars have had a history of scoring against the Canucks. Tyler Seguin has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) and is plus-13 in 21 career games. Jamie Benn has 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) and is plus-10 in 31 career games. And Joe Pavelski (40 points in 54 games) and Corey Perry (41 points in 54 games) also have a done well.

Benn ended a 15-game goal drought (the longest of his career) with the overtime winner Saturday. Radek Faksa has six points (three goals, three assists) in the past five games. Jason Dickinson started the first 12 games of the season without a point. He has four in the past five games. And Seguin has five points in the past two games alone.

Dallas is 5-1-0 in its past six home games.

 

What to watch

The Stars have two great goalies, so they never have any goalie controversies.

Montgomery pulled Ben Bishop against Edmonton, and Anton Khudobin came on to get the win, the second time the coach has done that in the past eight games (also Minnesota). Bishop will go right back into net Tuesday, and all parties concerned said they adjust well to the fact that Khudobin is a great backup and Bishop continues to be the team's No. 1 goalie.

Video: VAN@DAL: Fedun to be paired with Lindell vs. Canucks

"Sometimes, it's you're trying to change the momentum of the game, like the Minnesota game," Montgomery said. "Bish has been great for us. His three previous games were incredible. Didn't want to make a change (against Edmonton), but felt that was the right thing to do for the team. Ultimately, that's the decisions we make: What's best for the Dallas Stars. Spoke with Bish, and Bish is happy the team won and Bish is starting (Tuesday) night. He's our guy."

Bishop is 6-5-1 on the year, ranking fourth in GAA at 2.29 and sixth in save percentage at .925. Khudobin is 5-3-1, ranking fifth in GAA at 2.31 and 10th in save percentage at .921.

 

Bishop back in net for Stars

Bishop starts in goal. He is 6-4-0 in his career against Vancouver with a 2.66 GAA and .908 save percentage.

Mattias Janmark is out with a lower-body injury, so Nick Caamano gets his fourth straight game. Janmark could return Thursday. Roope Hintz is expected to miss his sixth game with a lower body injury, while John Klingberg is expected to miss his fifth game. Neither is expected to play Thursday. Either might be able to return Saturday.

Video: Janmark on Stars' confidence after good road trip

Despite getting a great performance from the line of Jamie Benn-Jason Dickinson-Tyler Seguin in Saturday's win over Edmonton, Montgomery has decided to go back to the Benn-Justin Dowling-Seguin line for Tuesday's game. They played together for wins over Calgary and Vancouver last week.

 

By the numbers
85

That's the number of power play opportunities garnered by the Canucks this season, tied for first in the NHL. Vancouver also is tied for most power-play goals at 21 and ranks sixth in success rate at 24.7 percent. Dallas is 13th in penalty kill success at 82.9 percent.

 

6

That's the amount of times Stars captain Jamie Benn has faced off against brother Jordie Benn. The two worked out in Frisco for much of the summer after Jordie signed as a free agent with the Canucks. Jordie Benn is averaging 16:39 in time on ice and has three assists in 21 games.

 

6

That's the amount of points former Stars forward Loui Eriksson has in 13 career games against Dallas. Eriksson has struggled this season with no points in 11 games. In 501 career games with the Stars, Eriksson had 357 points (150 goals, 207 assists). Eriksson was either first or second on the team in scoring for five seasons from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

 

He said it

"You know what -- they're stud players in this league, and when they play like that, our team is going to be elite all of the time. And now, with the depth we have, and the support scoring that is underneath them, that's why we think we can be an elite team. We still have a lot of steps to get there."

-- Montgomery on the resurgence of top players Benn and Seguin

 

Projected Stars lineup

Jamie Benn - Justin Dowling - Tyler Seguin

Denis Gurianov - Joe Pavelski - Alexander Radulov

Nick Caamano - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - Taylor Fedun

Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera - Roman Polak

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: D Joel Hanley

Injured: C Mattias Janmark (lower body), C Roope Hintz (lower body), D John Klingberg (lower body), D Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), C Martin Hanzal (back)

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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