W2W4: Canucks at Stars
Stars ready for Canucks
About the Stars
The Stars (40-28-5) are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over Phoenix on Tuesday that kept them sitting on top of the Pacific Division and in third place in the Western Conference.
The Stars weren't entirely pleased with the effort. They gave up a 3-1 lead in the third period and gave one point to a team chasing them in the standings.
"I think we did good things, but we've got to find ways to keep that two-goal lead and not give those guys a chance to get back into the game," said Stars forward Michael Ryder, who scored two goals. "We made a couple mistakes, a couple turnovers that ended up in our net. We came here for two points and we got that, but they got one."
The Stars have won both games against Vancouver this season -- one in overtime and one in regulation -- but they weren't talking like they were overconfident.
"Obviously, [they are] one of the elite teams in the league, so we are going to have to be sharp and a lot cleaner than we were against Phoenix," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "For Phoenix not being known as a heavy offensive team, they certainly capitalized on what we gave them. If we do the same to Vancouver, they'll do the same thing."
Kari Lehtonen, who made 27 saves Tuesday and was 3-for-3 in the shootout, is expected to start in goal for Dallas.
Stars forward Jamie Benn, who took an elbow in the head from Shane Doan during Tuesday's game and another hard hit in overtime, said Wednesday he was fine and will play in Thursday's game. Doan was suspended three games by the NHL on Wednesday for the hit.
Injuries: D Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) is out.
About the Canucks
The Canucks (43-22-8) lost 2-1 in overtime at Chicago on Wednesday night. Vancouver scored 27 seconds into the game, but Chicago tied it in the second, and Andrew Shaw's goal at 2:42 of overtime won it.
It was the Canucks' fourth loss in the last five games (1-3-1).
The Canucks lost more than a game. They lost forward Daniel Sedin in the first period after he took an elbow to the head from Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, who received a minor penalty for elbowing and could potentially face further disciplinary action.
"Deliberate, principal point of contact, everything you are trying to take out of the game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told reporters afterward, when asked about Keith's hit. "I expected a major and got a minor."
As for the status of Sedin, Vigneault said the team would know more Thursday.
Despite the loss, the Canucks feel they are improving. They are 3-5-3 over their last 11 games.
"This was by far our best team game in a lot of weeks," Canucks center Henrik Sedin said. "We won games before, but we haven't played the way we wanted to. Tonight, everyone showed up."
Series notes• This is the third of four meetings between the two teams.
• Dallas is 2-0-0 in the season series.
• The Canucks are 0-1-1 in the series.
• Feb. 26, at Dallas: Stars 3, Canucks 2 (OT)
• March 6, at Vancouver: Stars 5, Canucks 2
Statistical tidbits• The Stars are 15-4-3 since the All-Star break.
• The Canucks are 13-6-5 since the All-Star break.
• The Canucks have scored on the power play in three of their last 14 games.
• The Stars have allowed a power-play goal in three of their last 14 games.
• Dallas is 12-3-0 versus the Northwest Division this season, including 7-1-0 at American Airlines Center.
• Vancouver is 7-5-4 versus the Pacific Division.
• Stars forwards Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder have combined for 12 points in the season series against Vancouver this year (6 goals, 6 assists).
Stay On Your Skates
Stats & Information
Key points about Thursday's game:
• Michael Ryder set a new career high with his 32nd goal Tuesday night. He has recorded a point in 10 consecutive games, which is also a career high.
• The Canucks have the second most power-play goals in the league but are 0-for-5 on the power play against the Stars this season.
• In four games against the Stars last season, the Sedin twins combined for six goals and 12 assists. This season, they have been held scoreless against Dallas.
• Kari Lehtonen is 2-5 with a 3.79 goals-against average against the Canucks in his career, his highest against any opponent.
• If the Stars win the Pacific Division, it will be their first division title since the 2005-06 season, when they lost to the Avs in the first round of the playoffs.
• If the Canucks clinch the Northwest title, it will be their fourth straight division crown and their fifth in the past six seasons.