While the Canucks’ performance on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues was admirable – they certainly held their own against a much more physical Blues team – they certainly have some more work to do before the playoffs begin. For starters, regardless of their injury list, they need to be able to generate more offense. They need to dictate more of the play instead of just absorbing hit after hit after hit, and giving up as many scoring opportunities as they did. The point was nice, but let’s face it – Cory Schneider was the reason they got that point. I doubt they win a seven-game series while playing mostly on their heels. With four more practice runs before the playoffs begin – and three of those against potential playoff dance partners – it’s as good as time as any for the Canucks to work on their systems, and get in an offensive groove.
First on tap tonight are the Dallas Stars.
Looking back at the trade deadline, it sure seemed like the Stars were already starting to rebuild for next season. They shipped out team captain Brenden Morrow, star forward Jaromir Jagr, and another top-6 forward, Derek Roy. Yet instead of “not winning for Mackinnon”, they went on a bit of a run, and now find themselves just 4 points out of a playoff spot with 6 games remaining. And they have 2 games in hand over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
24-12-7, 55 points (1st in the Northwest Division, 3rd in the Western Conference)
Both the Canucks and the Stars have won a game apiece in the season series.
Before the Stars’ 5-2 loss against the Blackhawks in their last game, they were riding a 5-game win streak. They are 5-3-0 in the month of April.
Ray Whitney has been the hottest Dallas Star of late. Currently riding a 5 -game point streak (3G-6A-9P), he is tied for the team lead in goals (10) with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.
Kari Lehtonen has been out with groin issues, but will make is return tonight against the Canucks. Prior to the injury, Lehtonen had won just 2 of his last 6 starts.