Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Vancouver Canucks (9:00pm CST)


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Game 67: Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, 9:00 PM CST
Rogers Arena

Local TV, Radio: FS SW+, KTCK 1310 The Ticket

Opponent Blog: Nucks Misconduct


Having already secured four of six possible points on this Western Canadian road trip, the Dallas Stars enter Rogers Arena versus the Vancouver Canucks looking to get a little greedy.

Phoenix's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night put the Stars in first place, technically, in the Pacific Division, moving them up to 3rd in the Western Conference, though just a bad week and three small points separate them from the 10th place Colorado Avalanche.

Dallas rides into this one after a sometimes shaky effort in Calgary, but they value the points earned over everything else.

"We know how big these points are and today we got two more valuable points," Eriksson said. "We know Calgary is behind us and we needed a big win today. We got it."

They already earned a big win over these same Vancouver Canucks last Sunday when Trevor Daley found Loui Eriksson in the late stages of the overtime period to overcome a 2-0 second period deficit and pick up an invaluable two points. Vancouver has lost two of three since then and three of four overall heading into this one. Despite all of that they're still 6-2-2 in their last ten, sitting just a single point behind the New York Rangers for first overall in the NHL.

Some big trades, however, have the Canucks looking a bit different from their visit to Dallas just nine days ago. Vancouver didn't get Steve Ott, but they bolstered their depth at forward in a big way in anticipation of another long playoff run.

The Stars are 3-7-2 at Vancouver since the lockout, and haven't won there since the 2008-2009 season.

Much more on each team after the jump...

The Stars:

The big news out of Stars camp on Monday after practice in Calgary was that Richard Bachman will be making the start in net, sans a back to back situation, with Kari Lehtonen seemingly in the zone lately.

"You look at our little run here that we've been on and there was that game in Chicago that Richard Bachman was a part of to get us going" said Glen Gulutzan. "He's 7-3 with a .916. You look at our schedule down the road and we'll probably rely on Kari quite extensively for a lot of the time. This is maybe a day, with travel, it sets up good to play Bacher."

Bachman has wins in Los Angeles, in New York, and in Chicago this year, so perhaps some of that magic can reappear in this spot as Kari Lehtonen gets ready for an absolutely huge game against the Sharks at home on Thursday.

Toby Petersen did not join his teammates in Vancouver after the birth of his daughter, and will await their return in Dallas. With Jake Dowell and Brenden Morrow also missing, the Stars will look to the same lineup that's been carrying them recently...

Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder
Ott-Benn-Burish
Nystrom-Fiddler-Dvorak
Garbutt-Wandell-Vnicour

From Stars PR: "The Stars have killed off all but one opposition power play in that span (20/21, 95.2%). The Stars’ PK has gone from 21st to 11th in the NHL."

"That's been an emphasis for us down the stretch," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "With 16 games left you have to have good specialty teams. Paul Jerrard has done a real good job with our PK."

The Canucks:

This was their forward group just nine days ago when last the two teams met in Dallas on a Sunday afternoon...

Sedin-Sedin-Burrows
Booth-Kesler-Raymond
Higgins-Hodgson-Hansen
Malhotra-Lapierre-Bitz

The trade deadline came and went, with Steve Ott's name heavily connected to the Canucks all day, and now it looks like this...

Sedin-Sedin-Burrows
Booth-Kesler-Kassian
Higgins-Pahlsson-Hansen
Malhotra-Lapierre-Raymond

Kassian, newly acquired from Buffalo to give them more size and grit, moves onto that second line with Kesler and Booth, and that's going to be a scary bunch to try and check without the benefit of the matchups that Glen Gulutzan would like.

They lost Hodgson in that deal to the Sabres, but acquired Sami Pahlsson to slide right in there and fill the void on their third line. They lose skill in that trade but Pahlsson is the consummate third line player, like a Vern Fiddler.

The added depth allows them to have someone like Mayson Raymond coming at teams in a fourth line role. These are some scary looking lines, and not something anyone would want to face in a first round playoff series. Unless "first round playoff series" is music to your (our) ears. But I digress...

Round out the defense and goaltending like so...

Hamhuis-Bieksa
Edler-Salo
Gragnani-Rome

Luongo
Schneider

Vancouver opened a seven game home stand with a nice 2-0 win over the Blues but faltered when the Sabres came to town. Buffalo scored three times on Luongo with their first seven shots. He was chased in favor of Cory Schneider, who took the loss, despite stopping 14 of 15. Luongo will be back in net tonight.

The mighty Canuck power play has connected just once in their last 18 attempts, including the Stars going a perfect 2 for 2 in Dallas against them. They'll be looking to reignite it, and if the game turns chippy the Stars might give them the opportunities they need, so keep an eye on that tonight.

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