Sliding Canucks take on visiting Stars

( – The Vancouver Canucks will try to put the brakes on
their longest skid of the season when they host the Dallas Stars in
Wednesday’s battle at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks are on an 0-3-1 slide, a stretch that counts as only Vancouver’s
second losing streak of the season. The only other time the club suffered
consecutive defeats was with two straight losses against Tampa Bay and Dallas
from Oct 18-21.

The Stars slammed Vancouver 6-3 back in that October meeting in Big D, with
Erik Cole notching two goals for the home team and Jamie Benn, Ryan Garbutt
and Tyler Seguin each adding a goal and a helper. It was the fifth straight
win in the series for Dallas overall and the Stars also have claimed two in a
row and three of the last four encounters in British Columbia.

Vancouver hopes to reverse the recent trend against the Stars after losing its
past two outings in regulation by a combined 8-2 score. The Canucks lost 3-1
in Montreal on Dec. 9 before getting slammed 5-1 by the New York Rangers on

After ending a seven-game road trip with the loss to the Habs, the Canucks had
hopes to get on track in the opener of a four-game homestand on Saturday.
Instead, the Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes en
route to the blowout victory at Rogers Arena. The rout pushed former Canucks
head coach Alain Vigneault’s record against his old team to 3-0.

Nick Bonino supplied the sole offense for the Canucks, making it a 5-1 game at
4:20 of the third period. Ryan Miller was on the hook for all five goals on
just 23 shots.

“I think you play a certain way and now we’re getting caught on it,” said
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. “We try to play an aggressive style and if it
doesn’t work it goes the other way.”

Vancouver, which is tied with San Jose for second place in the Pacific
Division, has fared slightly better on the road than at home this season. The
Canucks are 7-4-1 as the host in 2014-15 compared to an 11-6-1 mark as the

The Canucks welcome Calgary on Saturday before completing their current stay
at home in Monday’s clash against Arizona.

Dallas should be well rested heading into tonight’s test, as Lindy Ruff’s club
has been idle since edging the visiting New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Saturday. It
was the second win in three games for the Stars, who hope to carry that
momentum into tonight’s opener of a three-game road trip.

The Stars grabbed a 2-0 lead on Saturday before the Devils rallied to even the
game with a pair of goals in the second period. However, Trevor Daley and
Shawn Horcoff scored later in the second to give Dallas the lead for good.

Seguin and Jason Spezza each finished with a goal and an assist, while Antoine
Roussel supplied two helpers for the Stars, who entered the game with five
losses in their previous six games.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 28-of-31 shots in the win.

“There were a lot of good things,” Ruff said. “I thought we missed in the
second period, three or four point-blank that would have really put the game

Garbutt missed Saturday while serving the first of his three-game suspension
for slew-footing Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien on Tuesday. He’ll also sit out
Friday’s game versus Calgary before being eligible to return in the finale of
the road trip Sunday in Edmonton.

Dallas has lost four straight on the road heading into this trek and hasn’t
posted an away victory since beating Los Angeles on Nov. 13. The Stars are
5-7-0 as the visiting team in 2014-15.

Miller is expected to start tonight for the Canucks and the veteran netminder
owns a 4-4-1 record and 3.40 goals against average in nine career games
against Dallas.

Lehtonen will likely get the call for the Stars and is 7-7-0 with a 2.79 GAA
versus the Canucks.