Bill Meltzer: Stars Gameday: 12/17/14 @ VAN


Embarking on a three-game western Canada road trip that is important to their push to climb back toward respectability in both the win-loss and goals against average columns, the Dallas Stars (11-13-5) are in British Columbia to take on the Vancouver Canucks (18-10-2) on Wednesday night. Game time is 9:00 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season. On Oct. 21, the Stars blasted off to a 5-0 lead before the game was 21 minutes old. Ryan Miller was pulled after the fifth goal. The rest of the game was ugly from a Dallas standpoint, but the club went on to win by a 6-3 count as Kari Lehtonen was bombarded with difficult shots.

The Stars have won two of their last games but both came against somewhat tired and struggling opponents. Vancouver has struggled a bit of late itself. Nevertheless, tonight’s game will be a very good test. Dallas has handled itself well against the Canucks in recent years, bringing a five-game winning streak against Vancouver into tonight’s game.

Dallas enters this game coming off a 4-3 home win against the New Jersey Devils. The Stars built a 2-0 lead, coughed it up in the second period then scored the next two goals to take a 4-2 lead to the second intermission. Lindy Ruff’s team hung on for a one-goal win in the third, doing a good job at closing out the game.

On the Dallas injury front, Travis Moen is available to play after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. Alex Goligoski (nagging lower-body injury) took a maintenance day on Monday — something he has done frequently this season — but practiced yesterday and will play tonight per Stars Inside Edge.

The Stars have recalled previously waived goaltender Anders Lindbäck from the AHL’s Texas Stars and returned goalie Jussi Rynnäs to the AHL farm club. Lindbäck is expected to start a game on the current road trip.

Dallas’ injury list remains the same apart from Moen feeling better. Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip surgery), Patrik Nemeth (severe forearm laceration from a skate cut) are all out.

The Canucks enter this game in a bit of a recent funk. Head coach Willie Desjardins’ team has dropped four in a row (0-3-1) and is coming off an ugly 5-1 home loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. Vancouver found itself in a quick 3-0 hole and never recovered.

Outscored by 17-7 margin over the last four games, Vancouver also enters this game in an 0-for-14 drought on the power play.

On the Canucks’ injury front, shutdown defenseman Dan Hamhuis (lower body), and forwards Zach Kassian (finger) and Tom Sestito (lower body) are out of the lineup.