Sunday, January 4, 2009

Canucks/Stars Game Day Preview

For the first time this season, the Canucks will take on the Dallas Stars at GM Place. In four meetings last season, the Canucks went 2-1-1. Markus Naslund (4g,3a), Daniel Sedin (2g,2a), Brendan Morrison (1g,2a), and Matt Pettinger (1g,2a) led Vancouver in scoring while Mike Ribeiro (6a), Brenden Morrow (1g,3a) and Mike Modano (2g,1a) led the Stars.

The Canucks (21-15-4) will go with Jason LaBarbera in goal for his third straight start tonight. He stopped a total of 66 shots in his last two games in Nashville and Atlanta. Mattias Ohlund, who left the game against the Thrashers on Friday, is good to go tonight. Mats Sundin skated with the Canucks today and says he's getting closer to being ready to play. He says he wants to get at least one full practice with his teammates before he's ready to get into game action. Both Roberto Luongo and Curtis Sanford skated with goalie coach Ian Clark before this morning's practice as they continue to rehab their groin injuries.

Henrik Sedin is currently riding a four-game point scoring streak (3g,4a). He'll continue to centre the line of Daniel Sedin and Pavol Demitra. That line combined for eight points in their 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Thrashers. The only line-up changes that could take place could be Lawrence Nycholat coming in on defence for Rob Davison while Alex Bolduc might draw in on the fourth line for Mike Brown.

The Stars (16-16-5) did not have a morning skate. In fact, they had to spend the night in Edmonton last night as they had frozen mechanical problems with their plan and were unable to take off. Coming off a 4-1 loss to the Oilers, Dallas has allowed the second most goals against of any team in the Western Conference (127). They've also scored the second lowest power play percentage on the road of any team in the league (11.1%).

Stars d-man Darryl Sydor is scheduled to play his 1,200th career NHL game tonight.

Here are the expected line-ups for both clubs:

D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Jaffray - Bolduc

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Nycholat
O'Brien - Edler



James Neal - Mike Modano - Jere Lehtinen
Brian Sutherby - Brad Richards - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Mark Parrish
Krystofer Barch - Toby Petersen - Chris Conner

Trevor Daley - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Andrew Hutchinson
Darryl Sydor - Matt Niskanen

Marty Turco
Tobias Stephan

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