After putting together a solid winning streak, the Dallas Stars face their toughest test of the week as they try to keep it going. Without top-six forwards Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow in the line-up, the Stars have stepped up their play to outscore their opponents 10-2 over the three wins. But today the Stars must host the Vancouver Canucks, the NHL’s top team right now. The Canucks are 10-1-2 since the All-Star break and this week ended the Detroit Red Wings home winning streak before winning in New Jersey on Friday night. This afternoon’s contest will be the fifth game of their current six-game roadtrip, on which they are 3-1-0 so far. Both teams will come in riding a hot-streak, but obviously someone will be going into the trade deadline with a loss.
The Stars will still be without Benn and Morrow (although Jamie Benn plans to be back Wednesday). But Philip Larsen is probable after taking a puck to the top of his head Friday night. Late in the 2nd a puck struck the top of Larsen’s helmet as his head was facing down towards the ice, and he left with help from the medical staff after staying on the ice for a few minutes. The shot broke his helmet and cut his head, but the reports are that it didn’t cause any serious damage (Larsen had a concussion earlier this year). The Canucks will be without Keith Ballard as he remains out with a concussion, and forwards Andrew Ebbett and Aaron Volpatti.
The puck drop is another early weekend game today as the puck drops from the American Airlines Center at 2PM. The meeting will be the first of the season between the two teams, but the Canucks won all four meetings last year and have recently been one of the teams that the Stars have had a lot of difficulties with. That might continue today. The Canucks have the most road wins in the NHL (22) and there are a lot of reasons as to why they are the NHL’s top team right now. The team is 6th or higher in the NHL for goals for, goals against, 5-on-5 play, and both sides of the special teams battle. The Stars will have to start strong like they have in their winning streak, and continue to play strong as a whole team.
- All-time the Stars are 77-64-25 against Vancouver.
- While they still have the NHL’s best powerplay, the Canucks are 0-7 with the man-advantage over the last three games.
- Both teams dominate when leading after two periods: Dallas is 19-0-1 this season, and the Canucks are 26-0-0.