Here are some key points to the game tonight to keep an eye on:
- Loui Eriksson has just one point and three shots on goal through the first three games of the season, and his lone goal came when a Brad Richards pass caromed off his skate. Eriksson has the skill to be a perennial top 15 scorer in the NHL, especially playing on a line with Richards and Neal, and he was rewarded as such with a six-year contract extension just before the season started. Yet he's been virtually invisible so far while those around him have had some memorable performances. Now this isn't to say I'm concerned about Eriksson, more like I think it's time for him to break out one of his two goal, one assist games that were a staple for him last season.
- Dallas Stars penalty kill - I covered this last week in Film Review, but the Stars' power play has been it's most alarming weakness. Two more power play goals allowed Friday night against the Flames and tonight they're facing a team with a potentially dangerous team with the man advantage. Like I stated on Friday, the penalty kill doesn't look as atrocious as the numbers would suggest. It's just the one part of the Stars' game that isn't really working all that well right now, and the majority of the goals scored on the Stars this season have come on the penalty kill. Let's see if the Stars can play one game...just one game...without allowing a power play goal. They've looked great, even dominant, at times but just one slip up in coverage each time has been their downfall.
- Marty Turco's confidence in net - I don't care how many goals Turco allows (well, actually I do care...less than three would be ideal), but what I'm really interested in seeing is how Turco responds after having a game off, some time for extra practice and then seeing Alex Auld get the team's first win of the season. He was confident in himself in the first two games and his mechanics in net lacked because of it. Quick to go down to the ice, not covering his angles and generally just looking out of sorts anytime the puck came close to the net. Tonight he'll get a really good test against the Canucks, a team that is averaging 38 shots on goal through four games.