This is the first of several previews we will be doing to prepare for the postseason. The Dallas Stars certainly are not promised a spot but they are in the hunt. We will start from the top of the Western Conference which is led by the powerhouse of this 2010-2011 season the Vancouver Canucks.
The ‘Nucks are currently 47-17-9 on the season, have won eight of the last ten games and have already clinched their division. This means Vancouver is the only Western Conference team to have locked up a playoff spot at the time of writing.
Lets review the previous meetings that occurred this season between the two teams -
New Year’s Even the Canucks came to Dallas and stomped on the Stars winning 4 to 1. On Monday January 24th the Dallas Stars met them again in Canada losing again this time 7 to 1. Vancouver came back to Texas for a meeting on February first and won 4 to 1, (notice a pattern here?). In the final matchup of the season at Vancouver the Stars lost again 5 to 2. I would like to think that maybe these would be of a different outcome if the Stars had been entirely healthy in February they may have been able to win one of those games.
Needless to say the numbers for this potential playoff matchup are not in favor of the Stars, who were outscored 20 to 5 during the series sweep. Stars fans certainly do not want to see this be a first round matchup.
1. Roberto Luongo (Goalie) – It’s hard not to start with this guy, a mainstay in Vancouver hockey for the past few season Luongo is a brick in net for the Canucks. On the season he has a record of 33-14-7 with a .925% Save Percentage and a Goals Against Average of 2.23. Luongo is tied for 3rd best in the NHL in both Wins and Save Percentage. This is the first hurdle any team needs to get past
2. Daniel Sedin (Left Wing) – This half of the Sedin twins currently leads the league in total points with 93, Daniel operates on one of the most effective lines in the NHL. He is a mammoth with the puck and trails only Steven Stamkos in total goals with 38.
3. Henrik Sedin (Center) – Henrik is the league leader in Assists with 68, and is a full nine assists ahead of the second place Martin St. Louis. He also ranks third in the league in total points with 86.
This is in not the team we want to see for our Stars but when they have been their best they seem to be able to pick up unlikely wins, if the Stars were to win this match up I would imagine it going the full seven games. Vancouver has a cup contender this year that will take a freight train to stop.