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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (9-8-6) vs. Dallas Stars (17-5-0)

Time 5:30 PM PT TV Sportsnet Pacific
H2H 1-0-0 Stars Last Meeting 4-3 Stars (OT) - October 29, 2015
The Enemy

Defending Big D

Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (10-15-25)

DAL: Jamie Benn (16-16-32)

Canucks Category Wild
9-8-6 Season Record 11-5-3
24 Points 25
3rd Division Position 3rd
Won 1 Streak Won 1
2.87 Goals For Per Game 3.55
2.70 Goals Against Per Game 2.59
21.0 Power Play % 26.9
78.9 Penalty Kill % 79.7
30.7 Shots Per Game 31.8
29.7 Shots Against Per Game 29.3

CANUCKS NOTES

Last Game at a Glance

The Canucks kicked off their four-game road trip on the right note, defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday night in Saint Paul.

After Tomas Vanek opened the scoring for the Wild with a power play goal just over midway through the first period, Radim Vrbata scored with 28 seconds left in the first period to tie the game. Vrbata then scored his second goal of the night with the Canucks on the power play in the second period. Jannik Hansen provided the Canucks with an insurance goal in the third period, as well. Charlie Coyle scored for Minnesota to make it a 3-2 game with 1:20 left, but the Canucks managed to hang on for the win.

Heading into the game, Vancouver had lost nine of their last thirteen games at the Xcel Energy Center, so it was a big win to start a road trip.

Canucks Lineup Notes

Willie Dejardins didn't confirm anything, but it looks as if the only lineup change for the Canucks tonight will be Sven Baertschi slotting back in for Jake Virtanen. Ryan Miller will get the start again for Vancouver.

A Texas-Sized Series Losing Streak

Sometimes, there are teams that just have your number. For the Canucks, that team is the Dallas Stars. The Canucks have dropped eight games in a row to Dallas dating back to February 21, 2013 when the Canucks defeated the Stars 4-3 in Dallas. During that streak, the Stars have outscored the Canucks 33-13.

In their only previous matchup this season, the Stars won 4-3 in overtime at home over the Canucks back on October 29.

Vrbata Heating Up

Considering his recent offensive output, or lack thereof, last night's two-goal game for Radim Vrbata was a much-needed spark for the Vancouver forward. Vrbata now has three goals in the last two games and six on the season after a nine-game drought where he didn't score. The Canucks will need Vrbata to ride that momentum into tonight if they hope to snap their losing streak to Dallas.

Taking a Thanksgiving Break for Hockey

Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States, so the Canucks celebrated in the most American way possible by going to a Dallas Cowboys game. Willie Desjardins said it would be nice for the team to get a mental break from hocky after some tough losses recently. The Canucks also celebrated by having a Thanksgiving dinner together as a team. We'll take bets in the comments below for who ate the most.

STARS NOTES

Last Game at a Glance

The Stars are coming off a 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators during which a combined six goals were scored in the third period.

The Senators dominated much of the game, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. The Stars came to life in the third period with a shorthanded goal from Jamie Benn followed by a goal by Tyler Seguin to make it a 5-3 game with about 12 minutes remaining. Ottawa was able to hold off the late rush to notch their first win over the Stars since 2008.

Stars Lineup Notes

The Stars will likely start Antti Niemi on Friday night, who was pulled from the game against the Senators for Kari Lehtonen. However, Lehtonen suffered an upper body injury and is now on injured reserve. Dallas called up goaltender Jack Campbell from the AHL. Campbell has one NHL appearance from back in October of 2013.

Defenseman Jason Demers should return after missing one game with a lower body injury.

Big Offense in the Big D

The Stars have been a nightmare for defensemen and goalies this season, averaging 3.55 goals per game. That mark is the best in the Western Conference and second-best in the NHL behind the Montreal Canadiens.

That mark has been fueled by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who have combined for 28 goals and 63 points this year.

Jamie Benn, First Star

Jamie Benn has been one of, if not the best scorer in the NHL this season. Benn's 16 goals lead the NHL and his 32 points rank second in the league behind Chicago's Patrick Kane, who has 34.

Benn has been red-hot as of late and is currently on a six-game point streak. During that streak, Benn has six goals and five assists. In his last nine games against the Canucks, Benn has seven goals and six assists.