The Vancouver Canucks (11-7-3) will look to snap their season-high three-game winless skid tonight when they host the Dallas Stars (10-7-2) at Rogers Arena.
There is never a good time to be in a slump but the Canucks probably couldn't have picked a worst stretch to experience their first lengthy swoon of the season. In their recent run of five straight games against divisional opponents – a run that included dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to the Sharks on Thursday – the Canucks managed just a single win and only collected four out of a possible 10 points. The Canucks will get a little reprieve from the Pacific Division starting tonight when they host the Central Division's Stars but that certainly doesn't necessarily mean things will get easier for them.
The Stars have been on a roll lately winning back-to-back games – including pummeling the Flames 7-3 on Thursday – and have lost just once in their last six outings. The Stars bring a much different look to town compared to years past as they not only have a new jersey and logo but also a new superstar forward in ex-Bruin Tyler Seguin and a new bench boss in Lindy Ruff. Roberto Luongo and Kari Lehtonen are the expected starters for their respective clubs. The Canucks will have Jannik Hansen back in their lineup after the Danish forward missed the last 10 games with a shoulder injury.
Puck drop at 5 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, THE TEAM 1040, or online at www.teamradio.ca.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Get to two. The Canucks have been held to just a single goal in each of their last three games. When you consider they've yet to lose in regulation this season when they've scored two-or-more goals (11-0-2), maybe getting to that second goal mark is more critical than they realize.
2. Don't change their game. The results might not be what the Canucks have been after in their last two games but they have played pretty good hockey against two tough teams in the Ducks and Sharks and certainly deserved better results. They need to find a way to cross that fine line between winning and losing, but they don't want to panic and reinvent the wheel at this point.
3. Repeat Thursday. If Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin get anywhere close to putting up similar numbers tonight as they did three nights ago against the Flames, the Stars are walking out of Rogers Arena with two points. Dallas' dynamic duo combined for five goals – four from Seguin – and 11 points in their 7-3 romp over Calgary.
DID YOU KNOW?
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin became the first Stars teammates to each have five-or-more points in the same game on Thursday in Calgary since Dave Gagner and Paul Cavallini did it way back on April 12, 1994 against the St. Louis Blues.
Overall in Stars/North Stars franchise history they have had four occasions where two teammates have recorded five-or-more points in the same game including this past Thursday.
.591 – Win percentage for the Canucks with Jannik Hansen in the lineup (6-4-1).
.889 – Win percentage for the Stars this season when they score three-or-more goals in a game (8-1-0).
5 – Straight games without a goal for Daniel Sedin. He has 14 shots over those five games.
8 – Times this season the Canucks have been held to a single goal in a game. They are 0-7-1 in those games.
11 – Straight games without a point for Jason Garrison. He had nine points in his first 10 games played this season.
600 – Career games played for Ryan Kesler, all with the Canucks, after tonight when he suits up against the Stars.
IN THE INFIRMARY
For the Canucks…
For the Stars…
F Ray Whitney (lower body) is on the injured reserve list.
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