Canucks - Stars Preview

CANUCKS (24-16-1) AT STARS (18-11-11)

GAME TIME: 11:00 AM PST

TV: Sportsnet

SEASON SERIES: 1-1

THE ENEMY: Defending Big D

UPDATE: (10:04 AM PT) - Bobby McKenzie reports that Lukowich has cleared waivers and is a full fledged Canuck starting today. Schneider who?

UPDATE (10:15 PM): Canucks' management is still angered over the match penalty given to Rick Rypien after his destruction of Cam Janssen last game. Mike Gillis has contacted Colin Campbell. How's your broken beak, Janssen?

Still waiting/watching for any Brad Lukowich news. Hope he makes it through re-entry waivers.

***************

The Canucks are gathering steam and confidence for the second half of the season, as they seem to have put their road woes behind them. They are 2-0-1 on their current road trip and 8-10-1 for the season. Looking much better. Erasing a 3-0 deficit and then beating the Blues in OT last game has to help too. A hell of a New Year's gift for Canucks fans. This is the final game of the 4-game road trip. The Canucks will then return home to play 4 games at GM Place.

What have the Stars been up to?

They are staying alive in the playoff race. They currently hold 9th spot, only 2 points out of a playoff spot. If the beat the Canucks in regulation they will most likely be back in a playoff spot. The Stars have won 2 in a row and are 5-3-2 in their last 10. Those 11 overtime losses lead the NHL. 11 loser points!

Youth is served in Dallas and Loui Eriksson is on fire. He scored a hat trick in the Stars' win over Anaheim on New Year's Eve. He has 39 points in 40 games this season. He has 7 goals and 19 points in his last 15 games.

Who else is cookin' in Dallas? Over their last 5 games:

-Brad Richards has an astounding 1 goal and 7 assists

-Stephane Robidas has a goal and 4 assists

-Mike Ribeiro has 1 goal and 3 assists

-James Neal has 2 goals and 2 assists.

-Only 2 assists for Brendan Morrow

-Mike Modano is about ready to call it a career. He's only playing about 12:00 per game.

-Still glad the Canucks lost the Fabian Brunnstrom sweepstakes? I am.

COMPARATIVE STATS:

GOALS PER GAME: Canucks 4th, Stars 7th

FEWEST GOALS AGAINST PER GAME: Canucks 8th, Stars 22nd

5 ON 5: Canucks 4th, Stars 16th

POWER PLAY: Canucks 4th, Stars 11th

PENALTY KILL: Canucks 17th, Stars 25th

SHOTS PER GAME: Stars 5th, Canucks 11th

SHOTS AGAINST PER GAME: Canucks 10th, Stars 20th

WINNING % WHEN SCORING FIRST: Canucks 11th, Stars 23rd

WINNING % WHEN LEADING AFTER 2: Canucks 6th, Stars 23rd

FACEOFFS: Canucks 11th, Stars 27th

This game kind of has a must-win feel to it. It would be great to see Vancouver widen the gap between themselves and the Stars before returning home.

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