Stars-Canucks Preview

Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars
Thursday April 18
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (21-18-3) had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss at Chicago Monday night. The Stars enter Thursday’s game four points out of the final playoff spot, but they have two games in hand on eighth-place Columbus, one game left against the Blue Jackets and own the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker. The Stars are excited about the challenge ahead.

“With six games left we are in the race for a playoff spot. We couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “Obviously, we would like to be the top seed and be in for sure, but those last six games mean something. You look at some teams, they are out of the playoffs already. We’ve just got to keep pushing and keep moving ahead.”

Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, will return Thursday night and start against the Canucks.

Injuries: D Trevor Daley (upper body) is questionable. RW Alex Chiasson (shoulder) and LW Lane MacDermid (chest) are out.

About the Canucks

The Canucks (24-12-7) are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss in St. Louis on Wednesday. It was just the second loss in the last seven games (5-1-1) for the Canucks.

“It was exactly what I think everybody expected – a tough game, a hard-fought game,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. “St. Louis came real hard at us and I thought for the most part we responded the way we were supposed to.”

Vancouver, which will be playing its fourth game in six nights and wrapping up a five game road trip, is three points ahead of Minnesota in the race for the Northwest Division title and the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Injuries: D Kevin Bieksa (lower body) is day-to-day. F Chris Higgins (lower body), F David Booth (ankle), D Chris Tanev (lower body) and F Manny Malhotra (eye) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the third and final meeting between the Stars and Canucks.

*The Stars are 1-1-0 in the season series and the Canucks are 1-1-0.

*February 15, Dallas at Vancouver: Stars 4, Canucks 3
*February 21, Vancouver at Dallas, Canucks 4, Stars 3

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have won two straight at home and five of the last eight (5-3-0).

*The Canucks are 2-1-1 on their current road trip, which concludes in Dallas, and are 6-3-1 in their last ten on the road.

*The Stars have registered 55 shots on goal the last three games (18.3 per game).

*The Canucks have allowed 100 shots over the last three games (33.3 per game).

*After not scoring on the power play in five straight games, the Stars have scored on the PP in two of the last three games and are 2-10 (20.0%) during that stretch.

*The Canucks are 25-25 on the penalty kill over the last seven games.

*Former Star Derek Roy has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and a plus-3 rating in 7 games since being traded to Vancouver earlier this month.

Statistical matchup

Category Stars Canucks
Record 21-18-3 24-12-7
Home 10-9-2 13-5-3
Away 11-9-1 11-7-4
Last 5 4-1-0 3-1-1
Last 10 6-4-0 6-3-1
Streak Lost 1 OT 1
Goals/game 2.76 (10th) 2.65 (14th)
Goals against/game 2.98 (24th) 2.28 (4th)
5-on-5  F/A 1.01 (14th) 1.17 (6th)
Power play 17.2 (17th) 15.0 (24th)
Penalty kill 81.6 (15th) 84.2 (9th)
Shots/game 26.4 (28th) 28.1 (20th)
Shots against/game 30.7 (22nd) 28.7 (14th)
Faceoffs 47.6 (25th) 47.3 (27th)
Team Leaders Stars Canucks
Goals Benn, Eriksson, Whitney: 10 Burrows: 13
Assists: Goligoski: 22 H. Sedin: 31
Points: Benn: 29 H. Sedin: 42
Goaltenders Lehtonen: 14-11-2, 2.67, .916
Bachman: 6-4-0, 3.28, .880
Nilstorp, 1-3-1, 3.09, .897
Schneider: 15-8-4, 2.09, .928
Luongo: 9-4-3, 2.34, .913

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