Gameday Preview: Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars (7:30pm CST)


Losers of two of three, Dallas will look to get back on the right track against the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

The onslaught of Canadian opponents continues for Dallas tonight as the Stars look for the first win of a three-game home stand against the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center.

Dallas continues one without number one goaltender Kari Lehtonen, sidelined with a groin tweak, and now without defenseman Trevor Daley as well. Richard Bachman has played the majority of the Stars' last three contests, but Cristopher Nilstorp gets the call tonight, attempting to right the Stars' ship.

The Stars held a two-goal lead in the third period against the Flames Sunday but watched as three different Calgary players scored their first goals of the season to take both points away from Dallas in regulation.

Vancouver, meanwhile, has suffered back-to-back 4-3 shootout losses to St. Louis and Chicago, but continue to pile up points even in defeat, keeping them near the top of the Western Conference standings.

From Stars PR: " In their first matchup this season, the Dallas Stars tallied two goals in the third period to defeat the Canucks 4-3 last Friday in Vancouver. This marked the first time since Oct. 27, 2009 that the Vancouver Canucks had lost a home game in regulation when leading after two periods."

The puck drops on this one at about 7:37pm on Fox Sports Southwest proper.

The Stars:

Over the course of the last three contests, counting only the time that Richard Bachman was in the game and ignoring the EN goal against in Calgary, the Stars' (Bachman's) GAA is 4.76, so Glen Gulutzan and Mike Valley have decided to go with Cristopher Nilstorp tonight to match the stellar goaltending of Vancouver.

Nilstorp has played two games for Dallas this season, going 0-2-0 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.70 GAA. He was injured January 26th at home against the St. Louis Blues in a 4-3 loss and has been with the Texas Stars since.

Kari Lehtonen remains day-to-day with a groin injury suffered last Friday night in Vancouver. He has not been definitively ruled out for Saturday's contest, though it remains a long shot.

Line combinations from Wednesday's practice:



Trevor Daley remains doubtful for tonight's game and is officially day-to-day with an issue with a disc in his neck. Jordie Benn will likely be in the lineup in his stead along side Philip Larsen.

Ray Whitney remains out with a stress fracture in his foot, but was said yesterday to be only two weeks away. Michael Ryder was ill on Tuesday but skated Wednesday and should be fine for this one.

The Canucks:

Dallas broke Vancouver's six-game win streak last Friday night by a score of 4-3, and they've since gone on to drop consecutive 4-3 shootout losses to St. Louis and Chicago.

We spoke last time in this space of how leak-proof they had been entering that one (six goals allowed in the six games previous) but have since surrendered 10 in just 9 periods and are surely looking to get back to their stingy ways.

Vancouver has scored a power play goal in five of their last six games - The exception? Dallas' visit on Friday night. Keeping their opportunities down and Nilstorp out of harms way will be key to victory tonight. Can Dallas keep the Sedins and Kesler off the PP score-sheet in consecutive meetings? They held Vancouver scoreless in six power play opportunities at the AAC last season.

Chicago, still unbeaten, incredibly, in regulation, has made Alain Vigneault reconsider his entire blue line situation, and new pairings could be in the offing.Here's the Vancouver Province...

"Goals are going to happen, but Chicago could have scored 10 in that game," Hamhuis said Wednesday after coach Alain Vigneault introduced three new defensive pairings at a practice in the town nicknamed, quite appropriately for this occasion, Big D.

Chris Tanev, meet Alex Edler. Jason Garrison, say hello to Keith Ballard, and Kevin Bieksa, remember your old friend Dan Hamhuis?

While Vigneault would not commit to his three new pairings for Thursday night's game here against the Dallas Stars, don't bet against it. Usually, when Vigneault tries something in practice, he goes with it in a game.

The biggest winner on the new defensive depth chart is Tanev, the 22-year-old who calmly just does his job very efficiently. He gets the opportunity to skate alongside Edler.

Lines could be something like these...




These are forward lines as they have been. The league decided that Jannik Hansen will sit tonight for a transgression against Marian Hossa, so there will be some shuffling. Luckily for the Canucks they just got David Booth back from a groin injury that sidelined him in training camp, and therefore have an excess of skilled wingers to move around if they wish. Booth played just 11 minutes on the fourth line in his first game back.

Cory Schneider is expected to get the start in net opposite rookie Nilstorp.

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