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Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Stars (2.21.13)

Thursday, 21.02.2013 / 10:15 AM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Stars (2.21.13)
Team Record: 8-3-4
Last Game: 3-4 SO/L at Chicago (FEB.19.13)

Season Series: 0-1-0
Last Meeting: 3-4 L (FEB.15.13)
Team Record: 8-7-1
Last Game: 3-4 L vs Calgary (FEB.17.13)

Season Series: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 4-3 W (FEB.15.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (8-3-4), minus Jannik Hansen, will try to snap their three-game winless skid tonight when they face the Dallas Stars (8-7-1) at the American Airlines Center.

What You Need to Know
  • The Canucks are riding their longest winless streak of the season at three games (0-1-2).
  • Vancouver saw their two-game road win streak snapped on Tuesday but have still earned points in five of six games away from Rogers Arena this season (3-1-2).
  • The Stars are playing the second game of a three-game home stand tonight and are looking to bounce back with a win after blowing a 3-1 third period lead in their last outing to Calgary to lose 4-3.
  • Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Stars this season. In their first clash six nights ago, the Stars battled back from a 3-1 second period deficit to skate away from Rogers Arena with a 4-3 win.
  • The Canucks are expected to debut new-look lines and defense combinations tonight. Aside from the top line staying intact, notable changes include Booth moving up from the fourth line and Kassian getting bumped off the second line. On the back end, Hamhuis and Bieksa reunite, Edler gets paired up with Tanev and Ballard and Garrison form the final pairing.
  • The Canucks will be without F Jannik Hansen tonight as he is serving a one-game NHL suspension for his hit to the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa on Tuesday that forced the Blackhawks forward to leave the game. F Aaron Volpatti, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday, will likely draw back into the lineup in Hansen's spot.
  • Canucks G Cory Schneider will earn his second consecutive start tonight. It's the first time this season he has started a game following a loss. Schneider has a 3-1-0 lifetime record at the American Airlines Center.
  • The Stars will start rookie G Christopher Nilstorp tonight. Nilstorp has just two career NHL games under his belt, both coming this season, and is still seeking his first win. This is actually his first year playing hockey in North America. With the Texas Stars (AHL) this season, he has posted a record of 17-10-1 with a 2.17 GAA and .914 save percentage with four shutouts.
  • Canucks F Daniel Sedin (2-4-6) and Henrik Sedin (1-5-6) are putting three-game point streaks on the line tonight. Stars F Cody Eakin (2-2-4) and Michael Ryder (0-4-4) also have three-game point streaks entering tonight's contest.
  • The Stars have lost two of their last three games since having their four-game win streak snapped. They're looking to avoid losing back-to-back games since going winless in four straight (0-3-1) from January 24 to 29.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 5:30 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 avoid an emotional letdown. There isn't as much hype for this contest compared to their emotionally-charged affair against the Blackhawks on Tuesday but that can't be an excuse not to put their best foot forward. The fact they lost on Tuesday should preclude that from happening.
  • They use revenge as a motivating factor. The Stars spoiled a special night at Rogers Arena six days ago and embarrassed the Canucks by battling all the way back from a 3-1 deficit to steal a win. The Canucks should be fired up to return the favour tonight.
  • They tighten their defensive zone coverage. The Canucks simply can't afford to get into a track meet with the Stars and give up breakaways and odd-man rushes left and right while surrendering over 40 shots as they did to the Blackhawks on Tuesday.


The Stars Win If...

  • They continue to spread the scoring around. Dallas has scored three-or-more goals in seven consecutive outings and it isn't Benn, Jagr, Eriksson or Ryder doing all the work. In the last four games, the Stars have gotten goals from the likes of Nystrom, Garbutt, Eakin, Smith and Roussell among others.
  • Nilstorp steals a game. Dallas' third-string netminder will get a chance to strut his stuff against one of the top offences in the league in what will be just his third career NHL game. He's still searching for his first career win.
  • They shut down the twins. Vancouver's top line of the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows has been on fire since their meeting with the Stars six nights ago combining for four goals and 14 points in the last three outings.

Ones to Watch

ZACK KASSIAN

After starting off the season with points in six of his first eight outings and looking like he was poised to have a breakout campaign, Zack Kassian's production has suddenly gone cold.

The 22-year-old, who seemed like he was on the verge of becoming that dominant power forward that many felt he could be when he was drafted back in 2009, has managed just one assist in his last seven outings and will find himself starting tonight's game on the fourth line – a far cry from just three weeks ago when he was lining up alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouver's top unit.

The 22-year-old, who seemed like he was on the verge of becoming that dominant power forward that many felt he could be when he was drafted back in 2009, has managed just one assist in his last seven outings. He was expected to find himself starting tonight's game on the fourth line - a far cry from just three weeks ago when he was lining up alongside the Sedin twins - although Jannik Hansen's suspension might mean he'll get one more game to prove himself as a top-12 forward.

BRENDEN DILLON

Brenden Dillon isn't exactly a household name around the NHL just yet but Vancouver fans certainly know him well enough after last Friday's outing at Rogers Arena.

The Surrey-native, who was signed by the Stars in March 2011 as an undrafted free agent, scored the biggest goal of his young career against the team he grew up idolizing by netting his first-career game-winning marker late in the third period of Dallas' 4-3 win to spoil a record-breaking night for Canucks' captain Henrik Sedin.

Dillon may be a newcomer to the NHL having played just 17 career games entering play tonight but his offensive prowess shouldn't come as a big surprise. In his overage season with the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds in 2010.11, Dillon notched eight goals and 59 points in 72 games played. He currently leads all Stars' defencemen with three goals on the season.

Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at dfung_sports@hotmail.com.