Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Canucks vs Stars Game Preview – December 19, 2013

Image Courtesy:  stars.nhl.com

Image Courtesy: stars.nhl.com

The Vancouver Canucks look to begin a new winning streak at 5:30 PST Thursday night vs the Dallas Stars. Games like this used to be pretty vanilla, but the new conference alignment and playoff format has made intra-conference games ultra-important. It also gives us a chance to check out the Stars new jerseys (they are pretty sweet!).

Last Game

The Canucks had a solid road game going vs the Minnesota Wild until midway through the 3rd period. With the Canucks leading 2-1, Luongo let in a bit of a softie and then the Canucks hung on for dear life throughout the rest of regulation. The Canucks ended up losing in the shootout, but have some solace that they at least got a point for their effort. A familiar refrain of the Canucks not being able to bury their opponent reappeared from their earlier losing streak (remember, fans were breaking their ankles jumping off the bandwagon not that long ago). Luongo was strong for most of the game, but that second goal was a bit of a killer.

The Dallas Stars

The Stars are coming off a split of a home and home series with the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks have to be happy that the Stars split their mini-series with the Avs and that no loser points were awarded. The Stars are right in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference with 37 points in 33 games and are lead by a red-hot Tyler Seguin. Why the Bruins traded Seguin is beyond me? With Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars are a team on the rise.

Canucks Lines

The Canucks are starting to get a little thin on defence with the recent injury to Ryan Stanton and the mysterious long-term injury (insert undisclosed knee injury) of Alex Edler.  Expect Yannick Weber and Andrew Alberts to both be in the line-up (I’m scared) and the forward lines to stay the same as they were vs the Wild. Luongo will get another start in net.

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Hansen

Higgins – Kesler – Santorelli

Kassian – Richardson - Booth

Sestito – Dalpe – Weise

Hamhuis – Tanev

Alberts – Bieksa

Garrison – Weber

Luongo

The pretend Larscheid report…

1. Roll 4

John Tortorella seems to be getting more comfortable with using his 4th line. I have noticed continued improvement from Zac Dalpe. In the first game of a back-to-back, the Canucks would be well served by rolling all 4 lines as much as possible.

2. Depleted Defence

The Canucks are now mired in their perennial spat of D-core injuries. So far the Canucks have done very well without the services of Alex Edler (as many have noticed), but adding Ryan Stanton to the injured list stings. Weber and Alberts have been inserted into the lineup and the rest of the Canucks defence can expect to play heavy minutes. Paging Mr. Corrado! Paging Mr. Corrado!

3. Don’t Get To The Shootout

As John Tortorella stated after the Wild shootout loss regarding the Canucks abilities in the shootout; “We suck at the shootout. We have to try different people I guess because we stink at it.” You have to admire the honesty. Easy solution, don’t get to the shootout.

Image Courtesy:  vancouversun.com

Image Courtesy: vancouversun.com

Prediction

The Canucks had a bit of a hiccup last night vs the Wild, but, as they say, all good things come to an end. I don’t see the Canucks taking too long to get back into the win column. It is very evident that the Canucks are getting more comfortable with Tortorella’s system and the middle of the ice just seems impenetrable at times for opposing teams. The Canucks take this one 5-2!

Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher

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