Vancouver Canucks (43-21-09, 95 pts) @ Dallas Stars (40-28-5, 85 pts)
7:30 PM CT, March 22, 2012
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Spirits are high in Stars camp. Dallas is coming off a critical 4-3 overtime over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. The win kept the Stars atop the division and third place in the Western Conference and allowed them to regain some momentum after two bad losses. Things just continue to get more difficult as the Northwest leading Vancouver Canucks come into town tonight. Dropping even one game can prove fatal as the difference between ninth and third place for Dallas is only one point.
The Stars have been able to beat Vancouver this season by being the more physical team. Battle along the boards and forechecking is critical in this game as they have to keep the Canucks offense stymied. They've outhit Vancouver 61-40 in the season series.
There's some good news and bad news for the Stars coming into this game. Jamie Benn looks to be okay after taking devastating blow after devastating blow in the game against the Coyotes. He could have easily suffered a concussion three times over but he seems okay.
Dallas will be without Mark Fistric though as he deals with an upper body injury. He suffered the injury during the Stars game against the Coyotes, possibly during the scrum that occurred after Shane Doan hit Benn. He'll miss at least a week with the injury and that'll thrust Adam Pardy back into the spotlight. I hope Jordie Benn can get some time though.
Kari Lehtonen and his wonder glove will be starting again tonight. He started the first of the two matchups between the two teams this season and stopped 24 of 26 shots in an overtime win.
Notes and thoughts:
- It's the Ribs, Ryder and Eriksson show for the Stars against the Canucks. Ribeiro has three goals and two assists, Ryder one goal and two assists and Eriksson has a pair of each. They'll need to be on their game again tonight.
- Dallas is 21-13-3 at home.
- Dallas needs to stay off the penalty kill today now that Fistric is hurt. He was a huge part of the PK and I don't think Adam Pardy, Jordie Benn or whoever the replacement on the PK unit is can do as good a job. Against a power play unit that can be explosive, Dallas needs to avoid penalties.
more after the jump