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Ryan Murray

Gdt- Stars @ Canucks, March 30

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mar0512_stars_notes.jpg

March 30th @ Rogers Arena

Canucks

Team Record: 47-21-9

Last Game: 1-0 W vs Colorado (MAR.28.12)

Season Series: 1-1-1

Last Meeting: 2-1 W (MAR.22.12)

Stars

Team Record: 42-30-5

Last Game: 3-1 W at Edmonton (MAR.28.12)

Season Series: 2-1-0

Last Meeting: 1-2 L (MAR.22.12)


BRING ON THE STARS

The Vancouver Canucks (46-21-9) will look to extend their win streak to a season-high five games when they host the Dallas Stars (42-30-5) at Rogers Arena in a potential first-round playoff preview.

PICK YOUR POISON

For the most part from now until the end of the regular season, the Canucks will be facing opponents with much more at stake than they have in terms of fighting for a playoff spot. With that said the Canucks should expect their potentially playoff-bound opponents to bring out their A-game every outing.

That was certainly the case two nights ago when the Canucks hosted a desperate Avalanche squad just trying to cling onto their hopes of cracking the top-eight. But despite having everything except the kitchen sink thrown at them by the Avs who out-shot the Canucks by a 43-22 count, Vancouver still walked away with their second straight 1-0 victory thanks to a stellar performance by netminder Cory Schneider and a shorthanded first period marker by Chris Higgins that stood up as the game-winner. The win improved Vancouver's record on their current five-game home stand to 2-0-0.

The Canucks should expect the same type of A-game effort tonight from the Stars who are one of several teams that are currently battling for the Pacific Division title but also looking to avoid falling out of the playoff picture entirely. The Canucks may not have much to play for aside from a slim shot at chasing down the Blues for first overall in the Conference but they'll want to turn in a strong effort against a Stars team they could potentially face again in less than two weeks when the playoffs begin.

Vancouver had a team day off yesterday so any lineup changes will likely be made known on the morning of game day. Roberto Luongo will likely get back between the pipes after sitting out Wednesday night. Kevin Bieksa, who was a somewhat surprise scratch on Wednesday, remains questionable.

KEEPING ABOVE WATER

The Stars head into tonight's tilt looking to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since having their season-high six-game win streak from March 2 to 13 snapped. They've managed to win just three of their last seven outings (3-4-0) since that win streak was snapped.

Dallas is looking to move above .500 on their current four-game road trip tonight for the first time. They started the trip with a 5-4 loss in Calgary on Monday before rebounding with a 3-1 victory over the hapless Oilers in Edmonton on Wednesday. They'll close out their trip tomorrow night with a divisional battle in San Jose.

The Stars will also be looking to secure the season series win against the Canucks with a victory tonight either in regulation or extra time. Dallas has won two of the three meetings in the season series to date and lead 4-3 in points earned. The Stars' most lopsided victory in the season series came at Rogers Arena back on March 6 when they pounded the home team by a 5-2 score.

Tonight marks the final time the Canucks and Stars will meet this season barring a playoff match-up. The Canucks will play the penultimate game of their five-game home stand tomorrow night when they host the Calgary Flames.

large.pngSCOUTING REPORT

When the Stars were on their run of 11 consecutive games without a regulation loss (10-0-1), the key reason to their success was their play in the defensive end. In those 11 outings, the Stars surrendered just 15 combined goals, held the opposition to two-or-fewer goals in all-but-two of those contests and gave up just an average of 26.7 shots per game. They were also nearly unbeatable even while shorthanded giving up just one power play goal on 35 times shorthanded (97.1 percent kill rate) over those 11 outings. It's been a much different story ever since then. The Stars have won just three of their last seven games (3-4-0) giving up a combined 21 goals in those contests and surrendering an average of 31.4 shots against per game. Their penalty kill has also been much less effective over the past seven outings allowing five goals on 29 times shorthanded (82.8 percent kill rate). Needless to say for the Stars to start getting back to their winning ways on a consistent basis, shoring up their defensive zone woes would be the first step.

The Stars' defense may be struggling a bit of late but their offense seems to be turning things up over the past three games albeit against opponents in the Flames and Oilers, respectively, that aren't exactly known for boasting top-notch defensive units. The Stars have tallied 11 goals over their last three outings with much of that production coming from the trio of Ribeiro-Ryder-Eriksson. Those three having combined for five goals and 12 points over the last three games. They've also gotten decent contribution from their second unit of Benn-Burish-Ott who have chipped in with four goals and nine points (all four goals coming from Benn) in that same time. Offense hasn't been a problem for the Stars in the season series as they've out-scored the Canucks 9-6 overall (albeit they only managed a single tally in the last head-to-head meeting) but they would probably like to have a little more of that goal-scoring prowess come early on in games. The Stars have surrendered the opening goal in all three games to date and only three of the 11 goals they've scored have come in either the first or second period.


Canucks Lineup

Forwards

Mason Raymond- Henrik Sedin- Zack Kassian

David Booth- Ryan Kesler- Alexandre Burrows

Chris Higgins- Samuel Pahlsson- Jannik Hansen

Manny Malhotra- Maxim Lapierre- Dale Weise

Defence

Alex Edler- Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis- Sami Salo

Marc-Andre Gragnani- Andrew Alberts

Goaltenders

Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

Injuries

D Kevin Bieksa (undisclosed) is questionable. D Aaron Rome (sprained knee) is out. F Daniel Sedin (concussion) is out indefinitely. D Keith Ballard (concussion), F Andrew Ebbett (broken collarbone) and F Aaron Volpatti (shoulder surgery) are on the injured reserve list.

Stars Lineup

Forwards

Loui Eriksson- Mike Ribeiro- Michael Ryder

Steve Ott- Jamie Benn- Adam Burish

Brenden Morrow- Vernon Fiddler- Tomas Vincour

Reilly Smith- Jake Dowell- Ryan Garbutt

Defence

Sheldon Souray- Stephane Robidas

Alex Goligoski- Philip Larsen

Adam Pardy- Trevor Daley

Goaltenders

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman

Injuries

F Eric Nystrom (lacerated leg) and F Radek Dvorak (ankle) are day-to-day. D Mark Fistric (strained abdominal) is out.


Tonight's game can be seen on NBCSN (US), Sportsnet Pacific, and can be heard on Team 1040.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MAXIM LAPIERRE

Go Canucks Go!

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3-2 nucks

Luuuu has his playoff face on and he means business this year!!!!

lu.jpg

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Beat the Stars and it becomes less likely we'll face them in round one.

San Jose and Phoenix or LA are shorter flights.

3-1 Canucks

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Should be a good game; Hammer, Salo, Edler and Tanev (probably Bieksa will be back by then too) should be strong enough defensively if they play them tight to at least minimize the damage caused by that Ribiero the Wizard, Snipe Ryder and LouiE. If they can lock those guys down at least a bit (or Bieksa/ Hammer lean into them abit if they're the shutdown pairing again) and if Lu or Schneids can play like the walls they've been lately they should have a good chance! GO :canucks:

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dont know if those are the correct lines the first line should look like this

Lapierre/Kassian-Sedin-Raymond

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Shoutout # 3

Canuck 2 - Dallas 0

goals by Higgy and empty netter by Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

211:39 minutes without allowing a goal

GO :canucks: GO .... Be Proud .... Be Loud :emot-parrot: :emot-parrot::emot-parrot:

Man .... I can't wait for playoffs to start :towel: :towel:

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2-0 third straight shutout!!

Goals by Kesler & Raymond

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dont know if those are the correct lines the first line should look like this

Lapierre/Kassian-Sedin-Raymond

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