Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Stars (2.15.13)
Tonight’s game is presented by Budweiser.
|Team Record: 8-2-2
Last Game: 2-1 W vs Minnesota (FEB.12.13)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 5-2 W (MAR.30.12)
|Team Record: 7-6-1
Last Game: 4-7 L at Calgary (FEB.13.13)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 2-5 L (MAR.30.12)
The Vancouver Canucks (8-2-2), seeking their seventh straight victory, could welcome Ryan Kesler back tonight when they host Jaromir Jagr and the Dallas Stars (7-6-1) at Rogers Arena for the first and only time this season.What You Need to Know
- Canucks F Ryan Kesler is likely to make his season-debut tonight after missing the first 12 games of the year recovering from off-season shoulder and wrist surgery. He'll take the spot of F Andrew Ebbett in the lineup.
- The Canucks will play the third game of their four-game home stand tonight. With a victory tonight, they would stretch their win streak to seven games which would match their longest such streak from last season. They are also looking to extend their home ice win streak to five games.
- Dallas is concluding a three-game Western Canada road trip tonight that began with stops in Edmonton and Calgary.
- The Stars saw their four-game win streak snapped on Wednesday in a 7-4 loss in Calgary. Dallas has not lost consecutive games since going winless in four straight games (0-3-1) from January 24 to 29.
- Prior to Wednesday, the last time the Stars surrendered seven-or-more goals in a single outing was against the Canucks way back on January 24, 2011 in a 7-1 loss at Rogers Arena. Stars G Kari Lehtonen was on the hook for all seven goals that night.
- Speaking of Lehtonen, he's expected to get back between the pipes tonight after sitting out on Wednesday in Calgary. A win tonight would give him his sixth personal win in a row which would be his longest win streak since he won seven in a row to start off last season.
- The Canucks and Stars split their 2011.12 season series with each team earning two wins, including one each at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won the final two games in the season series after starting off 0-1-1.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider, who will get the call between the pipes tonight, was responsible for both of his team's wins over Dallas last season. In fact, Schneider has won four in a row against the Stars since losing his first career game against them.
- Canucks F Chris Higgins (2-3-5) and F Henrik Sedin (0-5-5), along with now-ex Stars F Mike Ribeiro (3-2-5) each had five points in the season series last year to lead the way for their respective teams.
- Tonight will be former Canucks D Aaron Rome’s first game against his old team since he signed with Dallas in the off-season.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They feed off their emotions. It's been a whirlwind couple of days for the club with the expected return of Ryan Kesler tonight combined with the stunning news of Manny Malhotra being lost for the season. Hopefully they can translate the emotional highs and lows into an energetic effort against the Stars.
- They get shots through. Vancouver has won their last three straight games when out-shooting their opponents and should have plenty of opportunities to put pucks on net as they are facing one of the league leaders as far as most shots surrendered per game in the Stars.
- They draw more penalties. The two power plays they enjoyed in Tuesday's win over the Wild was their fewest in a single game this season. Considering how hot their power play is lately, they need to put themselves in more opportunities to be on the man-advantage. It won't be easy tonight, though, against one of the league's least penalized teams.
The Stars Win If...
- They come up with a bounce back effort. The Stars are coming off their most lopsided loss of the season on Wednesday that saw them give up a season-high seven goals in an embarrassing 7-4 loss in Calgary and should be fired up to get back to their winning ways quickly.
- Kari Lehtonen keeps his hot streak going. The Stars number one netminder has yet to lose in February going a perfect 5-0 in five starts while stopping 142 of 151 total shots for a save percentage of .940.
- Jamie Benn keeps producing. The Victoria-native is the hottest Star of late as he brings a five-game point streak into the contest. Dallas is 4-2-0 this season when Benn gets on the scoresheet.
Ones to Watch
Assuming there aren't any last minute setbacks, Ryan Kesler will make his long-awaited season debut tonight and it seems he'll have a prominent role to play right off the bat.
The 28-year-old Kesler is expected to anchor Vancouver's second line with Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian on his wings. He's also expected to have a spot on the Canucks' first unit power play as well. Last season, despite struggling through what many considered an off-year for him, he still managed to finish with the third-most goals on the team (22) and was the fourth-leading point producer (49) behind only the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows.
Kesler will look to make an immediate impact upon his return ideally by getting on the scoresheet. He hasn't notched a point in a season-debut game since 2008.09. He has 10 goals and 15 points in 30 career games versus the Stars.
Jaromir Jagr, one of the most prolific scorers in NHL history, is celebrating his 41st birthday today and he'll hope to mark the occasion by lighting it up on the scoreboard as he's done so many times throughout his illustrious career.
So far this season Jagr has proved that age is just a number as his point production has shown no signs of slowing down. His four goals are tied for the team-lead while his 11 points overall lead all Stars players. The former Hart Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup champion is also on the cusp of a couple of major career milestones. He's five assists away from becoming only the 11th player in league history to amass 1,000 assists while he's three game-winning goals shy of tying Phil Esposito for the all-time NHL record in that category.
Tonight will be Jagr's first NHL game at Rogers Arena since January 3, 2008 when he was captain of the New York Rangers. In 23 career games against the Canucks, he has notched 12 goals and 32 points.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.