The Dallas Stars will look for their second straight three-game road trip sweep tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver as they take on the Canucks following a 7-3 shellacking of the Calgary Flames Thursday night.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn rank first and second in the league in road scoring entering play tonight after career-high performances in Alberta and will try to continue turning heads on their trip through Canada, making a statement in Victory green and also a convincing case to represent their country in Sochi 2014.
The Canucks are as dangerous as ever but find themselves in search of answers after dropping three straight and scoring just three totals goals in the stretch. They'll try to apply superior depth and a couple of days worth of practice to slow the Stars' top line and break out offensively tonight.
From Stars PR: "Dallas won its only contest in Vancouver last season and has won two of its last three tilts at Rogers Arena. Forwards CODY EAKIN (2-2=4) and JAMIE BENN (2-2=4) shared the team-lead last season in three games against the Canucks."
Puck drops just after 7:00pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
It's one thing to walk to into Calgary and blitz the home team with a six-point performance and a four goal performance, as did Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin did respectively Thursday night. It's another thing to keep that kind of success going after such a coming out party.
With such an eye opener against the Flames and two days off to prepare, the Vancouver Canucks will have surely scoured the video tape and made their plans- After all, if you match-up against those two and make a concerted effort to stop them, what's behind them to beat you?
Mike Heika reported lines from practice on Saturday morning to be these:
It would seem likely, then, that one or two of those other combinations is going to have to chip in offensively to get another three-game road sweep, but with Ray Whitney out Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson have struggled to generate much at even strength along side Erik Cole.
Whitney skated Saturday in Vancouver but told media he's not likely to be ready for this one tonight, so expect more of the same.
Kari Lehtonen should start in net.
While the Stars have been trouncing the shallow end of the West's talent pool the Canucks have been challenged by the very best - San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim - and have been found wanting in their last three.
They've managed a single goal in three straight en route to an 0-2-1 stretch, but have had a couple of days to work, waiting for the Stars at home, eager to get back to their customary winning ways.
As for that Stars power play still looking to get healthy, the Canucks have killed 25 of their last 26 shorthanded obligations. On the other side the Canucks have earned six or more power plays in a game three times at home already, and an average of four. So as usual, staying out of the box is a must.
Vancouver is 4-3-1 at home this season, and their lone win against a Western Conference team at Rogers Arena came against the dreaded and feared Edmonton Oilers. In six of the eight home contests they allowed two or fewer goals, and as such could be a hard nut to crack for Dallas tonight.
Possible line combinations:
It's expected that Jannik Hansen will re-join the Canuck lineup after a 10-game absence due to a shoulder injury, and that lets Burrows re-join the Sedins on the top line.
"Our zone time, our time of possession, our chances that we're getting, our shots, I mean, we're that close," Kesler said at Canuck practice Saturday. "We're going to break open pretty soon."
Better hope it's not tonight.
More from Defending Big D:
- It's Not Dallas Stars Hockey Without Ralph Strangis
- Dallas Stars Daily Links: Jamie and Jordie Benn Playing Big Roles for the Stars This Season
- Dallas Stars, Ralph Strangis Still at Impasse in Contract Extension Talks
- Dallas Stars' Poster Series Debuts With Jordie Benn and Jamie Benn Special Edition
- Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn Proving Themselves One of League's Most Potent Duos