Canucks-Stars Game Day: Vancouver looks for some payback against Dallas
Teams meet just six days after Stars staged third-period rally to beat Canucks at Rogers Arena
DALLAS — It was the one that got away and the Vancouver Canucks have not forgotten about it.
Just six days ago, the Dallas Stars did something not many teams have accomplished at Rogers Arena in recent years: They came from behind in the third period to beat Vancouver 4-3 in regulation.
Goalie Cory Schneider was not at his best that night and welcomes the opportunity to help make amends tonight at the American Airlines Center (5:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040).
"We're not happy how the last game ended, losing two points in our building like that late in the game," Schneider said after today's optional morning skate. "They are a good team, they are a team that has been playing hard and has a lot of skill, so we can't fall asleep against them again and it's important for me to be just be a little bit better than I was the last game."
The Canucks will play tonight without winger Jannik Hansen, who is serving a one-game suspension he received for his hit Tuesday night on Chicago winger Marian Hossa.
"Jannik has been one of our most competitive forwards, he has been real good five-on-five, he has been solid killing penalties," said coach Alain Vigneault. "It is going to be a loss for us, but that's part of the game. We are going to move Zack (Kassian) up in his position with Ryan (Kesler) and Chris Higgins and hopefully that will give us a real solid line."
Kassian hopes to use that opportunity to snap out of a slump.
"I am really excited," he said. "I haven't been playing my best of late. It's a good opportunity for me to get going again."
Last Friday, the Stars got a late second-period goal from Cody Eakin and third-period goals from Antoine Roussel and Brenden Dillion to get the win.
"That top line of Jagr and Benn and Eriksson, they are so fast and skilled and seem to slow the game down to their speed," Schneider said. "But then they can use their speed and Jagr with his strength and size down low he can carry a couple of guys on his back. So when they get going it's hard to stop.
"But last game it was their depth that really hurt us. The guys who were crashing the net, going for loose pucks and just putting pucks on net. We can't let the top guys beat us, but we also have to be aware of their depth guys."
That game seemed to turn after three fights within three seconds of one another with five minutes left in the second. A spirited scrap between Aaron Volpatti and Ryan Garbutt was followed by fights between Max Lapierre and Vernon Fiddler and Dale Weise and Eric Nystrom.
"That's why fighting is part of the game," Nystrom said today. "It changed the momentum of the game. Obviously, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but the fans love it. I know the building was going crazy when it was going on and that's sometimes a player's role on a team is to give a spark that way. It was just a tough game and those things happen. It was fun."
The Canucks, who have lost three straight, will go with three new defensive pairings tonight. Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis will be reunited, Chris Tanev will join Alex Edler on the second pair, while Jason Garrison drops down to play with Keith Ballard.
With Kari Lehtonen still out with a groin injury he suffered last Friday night in Vancouver, the Stars are starting Cristopher Nilstorp in goal tonight. The 29-year-old is a veteran of the Swedish Elite League.
Nilstorp's name is actually spelled Nihlstorp, but the H was apparently dropped on some documentation he used to get into the U.S. and NHL rules stipulate the name on his contract has to match those documents. So in the NHL, he's known as Nilstorp.
• PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Stars: Victoria native Jamie Benn has 10 points in 11 games since ending his contract holdout and signing with the Stars. He centres the top line with Jaromir Jagr and Loui Eriksson.
Canucks: Zack Kassian is tied for the team lead with five goals, but hasn't scored in his last eight games. The Canucks want the big winger to be more physical and make smarter plays with the puck.
The Stars are without forward Ray Whitney (foot), goalie Kari Lehtonen (groin) and defenceman Trevor Daley (neck).
Canucks centre Manny Mahotra (eye) is out for the season.
ICE CHIPS: With Hansen serving his one-game suspension, winger Aaron Volpatti will draw back into the lineup after sitting out Tuesday night's game in Chicago as a healthy scratch … The Canucks are 4-0-1 in their last five regular-season visits to Dallas.
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