So, several times in the past week it's been said that one or two really good teams in the stacked Western Conference will wind up missing the playoffs. As things currently stand, those two teams are the Canucks and the Stars.That doesn't really make this matchup any more important than others, but it somehow feels like it.
The big story of course for the Stars is the recent play of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. More specifically, their combining for 11 points on Thursday night against the Flames. Mike Heika wrote yesterday about some of the factors making them one of the top performing duos in the league.
There's a dynamic in the two players that could make them a unique challenge for opposing teams. Seguin went through junior hockey as a center, but then had to change to wing for three years in Boston. He became a high-volume shooter there and learned how to find the corners of the net with a quick release on his shot. Benn, who played left wing growing up, was switched to center for the Stars for the past three seasons to help fill a hole in the lineup. He learned how to carry the puck and find open shooters. [Sports Day DFW]
On the Canucks side of the puck, their offense hasn't exactly been firing. One goal in each of their last three games, all losses. Their last game was a 2-1 loss to the Sharks in overtime. Roberto Luongo was very philosophical after the game.
"You're not going to win every game you play great, and sometimes you don't deserve to win and you're going to win. That's the way the NHL is. I think the main thing is we can't put our heads down." [ESPN]
Here's hoping his teammates didn't listen to his words of wisdom and all have their heads down.
* * *
It worked last year when Alex Goligoski was scratched for a game and his play subsequently improved. And it would appear to be working again this season. [Rant Sports]
Dallas checking in at number 15 this week on the NHL's Super 16. When power rankings are unfavorable to the Stars I will happily ignore them or even rant against them. But not when the Stars get called 'a playoff contender.' [NHL.com]
The Canucks' last game was a tough overtime loss to the Sharks. Here's how it went down. [Pass It to Bulis]
Love 'em or hate 'em, they are still a part of the game. If fights in hockey are your thing, here's a top 50 list you don't want to miss. [Sports Illustrated]
Wait, John Scott is playing again? I thought that got dealt with... [Puck Daddy]
And finally, the Avalanche lost last night to the Panthers. At home no less. And yes, the Stars also lost to the Panthers at home, but that was on the first day of the season, when nobody knew if the Stars were supposed to be good, bad, or ugly, and the unexpected appearance of Tim Thomas in net for the Panthers made them seem a more formidable foe than perhaps they were. Conversely, the ‘Lanche lost to the Panthers on home ice after convincing everybody around the NHL that they were legit. At three games, Colorado now have a losing streak longer than any the Stars have experienced this season. I can't believe the Stars lost to those chumps. Twice! [NHL.com]