Halfway through their six game road trip, the Dallas Stars are looking good, spotting a 3-0-0 record and outscoring their opponents 19-9. That’s a goal differential of 10, also known as the number of goals Dallas scored on the Buffalo Sabres to kick off the road trip.
That perfect record will be put to test tonight, however, when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. In theory, the Canucks are the Stars’ easiest matchup of the trip — with 61 points, they’re closer to last place in the NHL than they are to a playoff spot.
However, the Canucks are currently riding a win streak of their own, their fourth and most recent win being a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Go back two more games, and they beat the Stars 5-4 in the clubs’ most recent matchup, making them 5-1-0 in their last six.
In addition, their last game was on Saturday, meaning they’ve had two full days to rest. Contrast that with the Stars, who are traveling today after beating the Seattle Kraken 5-2 last night. Granted, it’s a short trip across the border, but it will still be the second night of a back-to-back on the road. And with the Stars battling the injury bug throughout the lineup, there’s not many fresh pairs of legs to fill in.
Still, it’s Vancouver — that overtime win against the Stars was one of only two wins against playoff teams in their past 22 games. Meanwhile Dallas is fighting for the top seed in the West and has a Top 5 goal differential in the league. Back-to-back or not, these are the type of games you expect prospective Stanley Cup contenders to win hands down.
We’ll see tonight if the gang in Victory Green can get it done.
Robertson – Hintz – Pavelski
Marchment – Domi – Dellandrea
Benn – Johnston – Dadonov
Kiviranta – Faksa – Olofsson
Heiskanen – Miller
Lindell – Hakanpää
Matt Murray is expected to get the nod in net, given it’s the second night of a back-to-back. Mason Marchment exited the game late last night after a knee-on-knee collision, so it’s possible he’ll be out due to injury. If so, then Luke Glendening should make his return to the lineup if healthy. Otherwise, the Stars will likely roll 11-7 and slot Nils Lundkvist back in.
Kuzmenko – Petterson – Beauvillier
Di Giuseppe – Miller – Boeser
Joshua – Aman – Garland
Kravtsov – Dries – Podkolzin
Hughes – Juulsen
Brisebois – Myers
Wolanin – Burroughs
No changes are expected to the lineup Vancouver spotted against the Senators last Saturday. Thatcher Demko is expected to get the start in net.