Well, it's the day after American Thanksgiving. The Canucks are 3 points back of the last wild card spot in the West and they're facing one of the teams they'll need to pass to get there. Is this going to be the start of a run for the Canucks, who despite some hiccups are starting to play better after that dreadful 9 game losing streak? And can they do it with the patchwork lineup that seems to be as much Utica as it is Vancouver?
It's a good test for the Canucks, as the only thing separating these two teams right now are 3 loser points. The Canucks won a wild 5-4 OT match against these same Stars last Sunday, and it's a safe bet the Stars are going to come out and try and put all notions of another Canucks win out of everyone's minds early.
||Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
||Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
|11.9 (28)||Power Play %||18.3 (14)|
|83.9 (10)||Penalty Kill %||78.1 (27)|
|51.4 (7)||Faceoff Win %||49.6 (16)|
||Shooting %||9.0 (12)|
||Corsi For %||48.3 (23)
Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com
The Stars are coming off a 5-2 loss to Nashville, a loss that enabled the Predators to leapfrog Dallas into that last wild card spot. The problem for Dallas this season seems to be 2 things: a ton of injuries so far, and having the worst goaltending in the NHL. One of these problems is unavoidable, but this goalie thing? It's something that people league-wide had identified as an issue for them.
They've also got a 4 game road swing coming up that includes tilts in St Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh, so they're going to want to head out on a winning note. They won't have Jiri Hudler in the lineup, though he did skate with the team for the first time since going on the IR with an illness. They are also missing Johnny Oduya, Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky, and Stephen Johns was sent back to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
The big story in Arizona was the line of Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Alexandre Burrows. That trio had their way with the Coyotes, combined for eight points, all 3 of them scoring to help chase Mike Smith from the Arizona net. They really seem to have jelled as a line, and given the amount of times we've seen the Willie Shuffle this season, some stability is a good thing.
Speaking of stability, gonna give some credit where it's due and commend Jim Benning for getting the extension for Ben Hutton done. Not sure why there was speculation about needing to ship him down to Utica, but with this out of the way, perhaps we see his game settle down a bit as the season progresses.
It's been almost 4 years since the Canucks won a game in Dallas, and they had lost 10 straight to the Stars before last Sunday's win. Now that the Canucks seem to have realized you can get a lead and you don't actually have to give it up, perhaps they can do this a little more often. That being said, they are tops in the NHL in wins when trailing after 1, and the Stars are the only team in the NHL without a win when down after 1 period, so either way, the chance for a Canucks victory tonight is a realistic thing. They will have to face Dallas' better goalie tonight as the Stars are going with Antti Niemi, while Ryan Miller will get the nod tonight, meaning we'll see Jacob Markstrom tomorrow night in Colorado. An interesting note I saw on Twitter this morning, as the Canucks could set a nice milestone this weekend:
The #Canucks next win will be the 1499th in franchise history.— Daniel Fung (@daniel_fung) November 25, 2016
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Taking a break from cover tunes today because I have had this song rattling around in the ol' cranium for days now, and I was thrilled to find a video for it. PYOGENESIS are a German band who have been around for quite a while now, and this steampunk themed clip is a perfect accompaniment to a really well-crafted song.