Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Stars (4.18.13)
|Team Record: 24-12-7
Last Game: 1-2 SO/L at St. Louis (APR.16.13)
Season Series: 1-1-0
Last Meeting: 4-3 W (FEB.21.13)
|Team Record: 21-18-3
Last Game: 2-5 L at Chicago (APR.15.13)
Season Series: 1-1-0
Last Meeting: 3-4 L (FEB.21.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (24-12-7) will look to close out their five-game road trip on a high note tonight when they make a stop at the American Airlines Center to face the Dallas Stars (21-18-3).What You Need to Know
- The Canucks wrap up their five-game road swing tonight after going 2-1-1 over the first four games of the trip. They're coming off a 2-1 shootout loss on Tuesday night in St. Louis.
- The Stars are looking to bounce back from a 5-2 loss in Chicago on Monday – a loss that snapped their season-high five-game win streak.
- The Stars are looking to win their third straight game on home ice tonight which would mark a season-high. You'd have to go back all the way to the start of the 2011.12 regular season to find the last time the Stars had a home win streak that long. They began that season winning their first four games on home ice.
- The Canucks begin the day sitting four points ahead of the Wild for first place in the Northwest Division. Both teams have played 43 games to date. Minnesota is also in action later tonight in San Jose. Vancouver needs a combination of 3.5 wins (seven points earned) and/or Minnesota losses to clinch the division.
- A win tonight would officially clinch a playoff spot for the Canucks. When they do officially qualify for the post-season, it would mark the fifth straight season they have made the playoffs.
- Tonight marks the third and final meeting between the Canucks and Stars this season. The season series is tied at one win each with both teams having earned 4-3 victories in their respective opponent's rink.
- Tonight marks the first time that Canucks F Derek Roy will face his former team since being dealt to Vancouver on the eve of the trade deadline. Roy, who originally joined the Stars via trade from Buffalo last July in a deal that saw Steve Ott and Adam Pardy go the other way, had four goals and 22 points in 30 games played with Dallas before being moved to Vancouver.
- The Canucks recalled D Derek Joslin from Worcester (AHL) yesterday. He could draw into the lineup tonight with the Canucks suddenly thin on the blue-line with both Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa out. Joslin, who was a free agent signing by the Canucks in the summer, has yet to appear in a game with Vancouver but does have 114 games worth of NHL experience split between the Sharks and Hurricanes.
- Stars G Kari Lehtonen will be back between the pipes tonight after being out of the lineup the last three games with a groin injury. Lehtonen started the first meeting between the Canucks and Stars back on February 15 but was forced to leave partway through the first period due to injury. G Richard Bachman stepped in that night to guide the Stars to a 4-3 win at Rogers Arena.
- The Stars team the Canucks meet tonight will have a much different look compared to the one they saw just less than a month ago. Among the players the Stars have ship out since that game against Vancouver back on February 21 include former team captain Brenden Morrow (Pittsburgh), future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr (Boston), Michael Ryder (Montreal) and, of course, Derek Roy (Vancouver).
Tonight's game faces off at 5:30 pm PT and can be seen on 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 prove a point on the road. With this game essentially being the Canucks' last meaningful game away from home ice before the start of the playoffs, the Canucks will want to use this opportunity to send a message to their potential post-season opponents in the Western Conference that they actually are capable of putting together a solid 60-minute effort on the road. Vancouver comes into this game with just two wins in their last six road outings (2-3-1).
- They aim for that checkmark. There's no better way for the Canucks to return home from their trip than with their playoff ticket stamped. They can officially earn that checkmark next to their name in the standings with a win so that ought to provide plenty of motivation for them to take care of business tonight.
- Their penalty kill continues to stifle. If there's one part of their game that has been firing on all cylinders lately, it's their penalty kill. Vancouver has not allowed a power play goal in a season-high seven straight games while they've killed off 26 opposition man-advantages in a row dating back to April 1. They shouldn't require any major adjustments to ensure their streak continues against the Stars. Vancouver has gone a perfect 9-for-9 on the PK against Dallas so far in the season series.
The Stars Win If...
- They find a way to get their momentum back. Having two days off when you're coming off a loss isn't an ideal situation and it's even worse for the Stars when you consider they had been red hot just prior to their Monday defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks. But if the Stars can shake off Monday's loss and get back to playing the way they have been for the last couple of weeks they could give the Canucks a run for their money tonight.
- They don't look at the standings. The Stars' loss on Monday may have been just their first defeat in six outings but it was a major setback for them as far as their playoff push goes. That being said, the Stars have to concentrate on just one game at a time and not worry about the daunting task that's still ahead of them if they hope to make it to the playoffs.
- They get their offence going again. The Stars have only managed to score four combined goals in their last two outings which is a problem because they're a team that generally has to out-score their problems. Dallas is 18-6-1 this season when scoring three-or-more goals in a game, but only 3-12-2 when they score two-or-fewer. They've gotten an offensive boost lately from unlikely sources such as Vernon Fiddler, Eric Nystrom and the recently-injured Alex Chiasson. They'll need some more unlikely heroes to step up tonight, not to mention some of their usual scorers such as Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson to do the same.
Ones to Watch
Just a few short weeks ago, Derek Roy was trying his best to help the Dallas Stars get into the playoff picture. Tonight, however, Roy will be doing his best to put a serious damper on his former team's playoff aspirations.
Roy will be appearing in his first game against the Stars since being traded away by Dallas back on April 2 and you can be sure he'd love nothing more than to have a strong outing against his former mates. As far as his play lately has gone, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is still trying to round into form with his new club. He has notched points in just two of seven games since becoming a Canuck amassing a total of one goal and three points over that stretch.
Roy has one assist in two games played so far in the season series between the Canucks and Stars although tonight will be his first opportunity to put up some points on Vancouver's side. He has five goals and eight points in six career games versus Dallas.
Vernon Fiddler hasn't exactly developed a reputation as being a big-time point producer over the course of his NHL career but you wouldn't know that by watching his play over the last couple of weeks.
The 32-year-old has had a hot hand since the NHL trade deadline netting two goals and 10 points over his last seven outings. All 10 of those points came over six consecutive games from April 3 to 13 - a career-high point streak for Fiddler which, unfortunately for him, came to an end in Chicago on Monday.
Fiddler will be looking to start a new streak tonight when he faces the Canucks for the third time this season. He has yet to find the scoresheet in the season series through two games played. In 25 career games versus Vancouver, Fiddler has notched two goals and six 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.