There are currently five Western Conference teams within three points of each other and battling for four playoff spots: the Minnesota Wild (92), the Los Angeles Kings (89), the Colorado Avalanche (90), the St. Louis Blues (89), and the Anaheim Ducks (89). The Wild have eight games remaining, while the rest all have seven.
The Dallas Stars, who also have only seven games left, currently sit at 84 points, and are five out of tying for a playoff spot. Thanks to their seven-game losing streak, the Stars will need lots of help if they want a chance at the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. But the help won’t do them any good if they don’t start winning hockey games again.
Enter the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks’ recent play has been just as bad if not worse than the Stars. They have gone 2-8-0 in their last 10 games, largely due to an inability to score. They has also gone three consecutive games without scoring a single goal. The difference is that Vancouver is tied for second-worst team in the league, not a team that was supposed to be a Cup contender, like the Stars.
So the Canucks look like the perfect team to help break the Stars out of their slump. But that doesn’t mean Dallas can take them lightly; otherwise that losing streak may very well extend to eight games.
Dallas Stars Projected Lineup
While Ken Hitchcock might shuffle some of the forwards around, expect the lineup to be similar to what we saw on Friday night against the Boston Bruins:
Jason Spezza is still out due to a back injury, while Gemel Smith, Julius Honka, and Dillon Heatherington are expected to be healthy scratches again.
Kari Lehtonen will be in net with Ben Bishop still injured.
UPDATE: Here’s what the lines looked like at morning skate:
Stars at morning skate:— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) March 25, 2018
Smith, Heatherington, Honka look like scratches. Spezza is also skating but not o line rushes
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lineups
The Canucks have several players injured, including rookie sensation Brock Boeser and former Dallas Star Loui Eriksson, the latter of which is done for the season. Expect a lineup close to the following:
D Sedin-H Sedin-Gagner
Jacob Markstrom is expected to be the starting goaltender tonight.
The game will start at 6 p.m. Central.