Game Preview: Dallas Stars @ Vancouver Canucks (9:00pm CST)
The Stars will again try to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the season tonight. It's December 3rd.
CThe Dallas Stars return to action this evening in Western Canada fresh off suffering the very indignation they've been imposing on other teams all season long - a third period comeback for a victory.
Those hapless Calgary Flames found themselves down 3-0 in the final frame Tuesday night before an already furious rally on the shot-counter started paying dividends, ending with a 4-3 win for the home team and a shocked Dallas roster.
Tonight they try to reclaim their mojo in Vancouver but find a Canucks team eager to finally set things right with Dallas after out-shooting the Stars twice on the road already this season and dropping both contests.
Vancouver dominated the Stars possession-wise just a week ago with a 67-49 Corsi advantage that really kicked off a down stretch of play for Dallas, finally culminating in a loss to the Flames.
"The last couple of games there have been issues," Ruff said simply on Wednesday.
The puck drops tonight just after 9:00pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
There have been a variety of cracks starting to show for the West's best team of late, but the loss of one individual stands out above the rest:
Jason Demers has missed some action at times this season, and the Stars' play on the ice has been nearly uniformly terrible without him. Sample size and coincidence aside, that's the information we have to-date.
So how is he after leaving Tuesday's game early?
Jason Demers' upper body injury does not seem to be too serious. He is listed as day to day.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) December 2, 2015
Promising, and not. It's conceivable he plays tonight or tomorrow but it wouldn't surprise anyone if he does not, meaning the Stars have to learn to live without him and get some points in the process. Check back after morning skate, which will be pretty late out on the West coast.
Kari Lehtonen was activated, as you've no doubt read, and should be the man in net tonight to start the back-to-back set. Antti Niemi was spectacular in the loss Tuesday, shootout aside, and has earned that break.
Lindy Ruff skated the familiar lines on offense yesterday but acknowledged that there was something he might have done differently in the third period in Calgary if given a second chance:
"I switched things up in Minny," he told the Dallas Morning News. "If I had a second chance, I might have switched them up again last night."
Chances are things start routine this evening, but keep a close eye on the line blender's "start" button.
The Canucks got rocked by the Kings on Tuesday night to the tune of a 40-16 shot disadvantage, but somehow made it to overtime before losing on a bid from Kopitar.
That extends their current losing streak to three, began by Dallas on the 27th at the AAC. They've scored three total goals in their last three games combined, and two of them have been on the power play.
They're starved for offense, they're glad to be back at home after a four-game road swing, and they're likely happy to see Dallas, knowing how much they gave Ruff's group fits in each of their last two meetings.
So as on Tuesday - watch out for this one. The Stars' play has been pointing down the last week and they'll need a strong performance to set things right. Their talent has carried overall questionable play of late, but details are in need of looking after.
The group that you know well by now:
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars play the third and final game of the 2015-16 season series against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night at Rogers Arena. The Stars have won both meetings this season (2-0-0), playing both contests at American Airlines Center and extending their home win streak to six games (6-0-0) against Vancouver. Dallas has won nine straight games overall (9-0-0) against the Canucks including four straight games (4-0-0) at Rogers Arena. In the most recent meeting in the season series, the Stars escaped with a 3-2 shootout victory on Nov. 27 in Dallas. Forward Tyler Seguin netted the game-deciding goal and recorded one assist (0-1=1) with forward Patrick Sharp adding a two-point night (0-2=2).
BENN THERE, DONE THAT
Stars captain Jamie Benn was named on Monday as the NHL's First Star of the Week ending Nov. 29. Benn currently ranks second in the NHL with 35 points (18-17=35) this season. His 18 goals are the most in the League and his 17 assists share seventh. The forward saw his eight-game point streak (8-6=14) snapped on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames and now has points in 20 of his 25 games this season (18-17=35). Benn is currently riding a three-game point streak (3-1=4) against his hometown club and has scored a goal in three straight games (3-0=3) against them. The native of Victoria, B.C. has points in 11 of his last 12 games against Vancouver (8-8=16) and has tallied 19 points (10-9=19) in 20 career contests against them. This season against Vancouver, Benn has tallied three points (2-1=3) in two games.