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

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Vancouver Canucks
@ Dallas Stars

Friday, Nov 6, 2009, 7:30 PM CST
American Airlines Center

Radio: KTCK 1310 The Ticket

Opponent's Blog: Nucks Misconduct

Complete Coverage >

[UPDATE] James Neal is out and there's a change in net for the Canucks. Details after the jump.

On Wednesday night the Dallas Stars returned to the ice after four days of rest with a full roster for the first time all season. In a lot of ways it was an extremely impressive performance as the Stars skated dangerous and deep lines and the defense finally seemed to start getting the hang of pushing the tempo in transition. 40 shots on goal and nearly a full game of intense, great hockey where the execution was flawless for stretches and the Stars maintained pressure for a better part of three periods.

It was a momentary lapse that made it all go wrong. The Stars let up in the final minutes, getting away from the game plan that had gone so well for them for most of the game. The Calgary Flames applied the pressure and were stronger than the Stars along the boards in the final minutes, and a defensive breakdown led to the tying goal with under a minute remaining in regulation. Add in a bogus penalty call and a quick overtime goal and you have the recipe for perhaps the most frustrating game Stars fans have witnessed in a very, very long time.

Yet perhaps that was a game this team needed, a pivotal moment in a long season.

The Dallas Stars:

Despite the disappointment of the loss on Wednesday night, the Dallas Stars are starting to believe that when they play to their full potential special things will happen:

"We had the better chances, we earned our power plays, we did just about everything right – except win the game," captain Brenden Morrow said. "To play a team like Calgary that was really motivated, to have some key players come back into the lineup and play well together, I really do think it was a good sign."

"When we throw that type of performance in most games in the National Hockey League, we're going to win," coach Marc Crawford said, "and we're going to win quite handily."

"I do think we have the ability and the talent to play that way, and we're starting to see that," general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "But what we have to have is consistency. We didn't have it last week. Can we build on the last game and show we can do this for weeks at a time? That's our goal."

"It was good to see what we looked like with a full lineup," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "I thought we were the better team against a very good team out there, and there's no reason we can't do that on a consistent basis if we play the game as a team."

Unfortunately, the Stars might not have a full lineup tonight. James Neal pulled his groin on Wednesday and while he looked fine walking around yesterday (he did not practice), he's questionable for tonight's game against Vancouver.

[UPDATE] With James Neal out tonight and possibly tomorrow night, here are Heika's proposed lines for the Stars, with Marc Crawford hinting he doesn't want to disrupt the forwards too much:



Marty Turco in net tonight and could possibly also play tomorrow night as well.

The Vancouver Canucks:

A hurting and injured Canucks team are coming off three straight wins, including a 5-2 over the Minnesota Wild last night. Nucks Misconduct is calling it their "B" squad as the team fights through the injuries to key players, as there are a number of skaters playing out of position. Whatever they're doing is working, although it looks like they might be getting some of these players back soon:

So on a night when the team's best line (Kesler's) finished a combined -5, they found another group of heroes. And, once again, Raycroft played a strong game in net for his fourth win of the year. And best news of all: unless they're being coy, no one was injured. I'm as shocked as you are.

If the rumors are true, then it's likely that both Luongo and happy fists Hansen will slot in for Tuesday's game against the Blues. That means tonight - as they head into Big D to visit with their old coach and the rest of the Stars - could be the last time we'll see the B squad together. Based on the way they are playing, that may not be a good thing. As broken as they are with injuries, their game sure doesn't look broke so why fix it?

Andrew Raycroft in net tonight, and he's been phenomenal so far filling in for Roberto Luongo. Cory Schneider will be in net tonight for the Canucks.

2009 - Cory Schneider 1 20 0 0 3 9.00 12 9 .750 0

The last time these two teams met the Stars lost in a shootout. Imagine that.

Andrew's Stars Page has some great tidbits about the two teams:

* The Stars are averaging just under 35 shots on goal over their last five games.
* The Canucks have allowed 26 shots or fewer in five of their last eight games.
* The Canucks are 12-12 on the penalty kill over the last three games.
* The Canucks have scored ten power play goals over the last nine games and are 10-40 (25.0%) during that stretch.
* Stars LW James Neal has points in seven straight games (six goals, four assists).
* Stars C Brad Richards extended has points in six games (two goals, seven assists).

Key Injuries:

Dallas: LW James Neal (groin) is questionable. [UPDATE] The Dallas Morning News reports that James Neal is out tonight, and will not make the trip to Minnesota tomorrow. -BradG[/UPDATE]

Vancouver: G Roberto Luongo (ribs), LW Daniel Sedin (foot), RW Pavol Demitra (shoulder), RW Jannik Hansen (hand) are out.