Bill Meltzer: Stars Gameday: 10/21/14 vs. VAN


Looking to re-establish the sort of home ice advantage they established over the course of last season, the Dallas Stars (2-1-2, 0-0-2 at home) play host to the Vancouver Canucks (3-1-0, 2-0-0 on the road) on Tuesday night. Game time is 7:30 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest.

This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season, and the lone game at the American Airlines Center.

The clubs will rematch on December 17 and March 28 in Vancouver.

Last year, the Stars swept the season series against the Canucks with three regulation victories. Overall, Dallas has won four in a row against Vancouver — dating back to the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season — and five of the last six.

The Stars enter this game coming off a roller coaster of emotions in the last two games. Last Thursday, Dallas rallied for two late goals to stun the host Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation, 3-2. On Saturday, the host Stars were unable to protect leads of 1-0, 4-2 and 5-4 against the Philadelphia Flyers and lost a 6-5 decision in overtime. Afterward, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff blasted his team’s lack of two-way commitment as “garbage hockey.”

Last game, Ruff moved Jason Spezza up to the top line with Tyler Seguin and team captain Jamie Benn. The results were spectacular, as Spezza (one goal, three assists) and Seguin (four assists) racked up four point games and Benn scored a late second-period goal to give the Stars their ill-fated 4-2 lead.

In the last three games, NHL First Star of the Week, Seguin has racked up a staggering eight points (four goals, four assists). Team captain Benn has six points (three goals, three assists). Spezza’s four-point outburst against Philadelphia brought him to seven points (one goal, six assists) on the young season.

Defenseman Trevor Daley cashed in a pair of power play goals in Saturday’s game; just the second time in his NHL career that he’s notched a pair of man advantage goals in the same game. The last time he accomplished the feat was on January 15, 2011 against the Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets).

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who is winless in his career in a dozen outings against the Flyers, needs a bounceback performance tonight after a shaky showing against Philadelphia. He has generally played well in his other three starts this season and has a history of quick bouncebacks during his Dallas career.

The Stars lost rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth for the regular season as a result of a deep laceration to his right forearm/wrist suffered in his first shift of Saturday’s game. In his absence, Dallas double-shifted Brenden Dillon (30:30 of ice time). Tonight, 2011 first-round pick Jamie Oleksiak may dress for just the second time this season. The club also recalled Jyrki Jokipakka from the AHL’s Texas Stars.

In addition to Nemeth, the Stars are still without veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar (IR, ankle) and second-year forward Valeri Nichushkin (strained groin/hip, day-to-day).

The Canucks have a host of Stars connections on their new coaching staff, following the dismissal of John Tortorella after just one season with the team. New Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins coached the Texas Stars to the Calder Cup last season and previously spent two seasons as an associate coach for the parent club.

Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan was the Dallas Stars’ head coach for two seasons (Desjardins assisted him in his year) and previously was the head coach of the Texas Stars for two years, leading the farm club to the 2010 Calder Cup Finals. Meanwhile, fellow Vancouver assistant Doug Lidster served as Desjardins’ assistant in Cedar Park the last two seasons before accompanying him to Vancouver.

Vancouver enters this game coming off a 4-2 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. A pair of first-period goals by Steven Stamkos powered the Bolts to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. After Vancouver tied the game on an Alex Edler power play goal, Stamkos assisted on a Ryan Callahan power play goal that put the Lightning ahead to stay. Alex Killorn added an insurance goal in the third period. Back in the first period, Chris Higgins scored his first goal of the season for Vancouver to briefly tie the game at 1-1.

Eddie Läck made his first start of the 2014-15 in Saturday’s game. He stopped 20 of 24 shots in a losing cause. Ryan Miller, who is off to a 3-0-0 start this season is expected to get the start in net tonight.

On the Canucks injury front, defensemen Ryan Stanton (lower body) is out. Rookie forward Bo Horvat (shoulder injury) was sent to the AHL’s Utica Comets on a conditioning assignment.

At the team’s last practice, Desjardins made some line changes. Shawn Matthias moved from fourth-line center to third-line left winger. Brad Richardson centered the line, with Zack Kassian on the right wing. Linden Vey was moved down from third-line center to the fourth line, flanked by Derek Dorsett and Jannik Hansen.

PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)


14 Jamie Benn – 90 Jason Spezza – 91 Tyler Seguin

21 Antoine Roussel – 20 Cody Eakin – 16 Ryan Garbutt

11 Curtis McKenzie – 38 Vernon Fiddler – 83 Ales Hemsky

72 Erik Cole – 10 Shawn Horcoff – 18 Patrick Eaves

33 Alex Goligoski – 6 Trevor Daley

24 Jordie Benn – 4 Brenden Dillon

23 Kevin Connauton – 5 Jamie Oleksiak

32 Kari Lehtonen

[29 Anders Lindbäck]

Scratches: Colton Sceviour (healthy), Jyrki Jokipakka (healthy), Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin), Sergei Gonchar (IR, ankle), Patrik Nemeth (IR, arm laceration).


22 Daniel Sedin – 33 Henrik Sedin – 17 Radim Vrbata

20 Chris Higgins – 13 Nick Bonino – 14 Alexandre Burrows

27 Shawn Matthias – 15 Brad Richardson – 9 Zack Kassian

51 Derek Dorsett – 7 Linden Vey – 36 Jannik Hansen

5 Luca Sbisa – 2 Dan Hamhuis

23 Alex Edler – 8 Christopher Tanev

3 Kevin Bieksa – 6 Yannick Weber

30 Ryan Miller

[31 Eddie Läck]

Scratches: Ryan Stanton (IR, lower body), Bo Horvath (shoulder, conditioning assignment), Tom Sestito (healthy), Frank Corrado (healthy).

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