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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Stars-Canucks Preview

By Mark Stepneski

Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks
Friday March 30, 9:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus/NBC Sports Network
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (42-30-5) are coming off a 3-1 win at Edmonton on Wednesday. Michael Ryder scored two goals and added an assist, and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves for the Stars, who took over first place in the Pacific Division after the win.

“We’re happy to take these two points and keep going,” Lehtonen said. “You never know what’s going to happen against the Oilers. Those guys have so much skill, and they’re fun to play against.”

Friday’s game in Vancouver opens the final back-to-back set of the season for the Stars. They play at San Jose on Saturday.

“It doesn’t get easier,” Gulutzan said. “Those are all points we have to claw, scrape or whatever we can do to get something out of those games.”

Lehtonen will start in goal Friday.

Injuries: LW Eric Nystrom (leg) and RW Radek Dvorak (ankle) and D Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) are out.

About the Canucks

The Canucks (47-21-9) won their fourth straight game, beating Colorado 1-0 in Vancouver on Wednesday. Cory Schneider made 43 saves

“They put a lot at the net from a lot of angles, everything they had they put at the net and that’s what a desperate team does,” Schneider said. “I thought we did a great job either blocking it or letting me see the puck and there were quite a few where I was just able to catch it and kill the play. The shots were lopsided but the actual quality chances, we did a good job eliminating those.”

It was the second straight 1-0 victory for the Canucks, who have allowed just three goals over the last four games.  While the Canucks have tightened up things defensively, they struggled to score, tallying just eight goals over the last six games.

“We're happy where we are defensively and we're not giving up 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s. I know we're going to score goals eventually and that they're going to come,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.

The Canucks are three points behind St. Louis for first overall in the Western Conference and have one game in hand.

Injuries: D Kevin Bieksa (undisclosed) is questionable.  LW Daniel Sedin (concussion), D Aaron Rome (knee), D Keith Ballard (concussion), C Andrew Ebbett (collarbone) and C Aaron Volpatti (shoulder) are out.

Series notes

*This the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams.

*The Stars are 2-1-0 in the season series.

*The Canucks are 1-1-1 in the season series.

*February 26, at Dallas: Stars 3, Canucks 2 (OT)
March 6, at Vancouver: Stars 5, Canucks 2
March 22, at Dallas: Canucks 2, Stars 1

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars rank seventh in the NHL in road goals against at 2.58 per game.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 14-7-2 with a 2.09 goals against average and .935 save percentage on the road this season.

*The Canucks have been outshot 81-47 over the last two games but have outscored their opposition 2-0.

*The Canucks have scored just eight goals over the last six games, but they’ve allowed only seven during the same stretch.

*Forward Chris Higgins has scored three of the Canucks’ last five goals.

*Vancouver is 1-20 on the power play over the last six games.

*Stars forward Michael Ryder has 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games since the All-Star break.

*Stars forward Mike Ribeiro has 30 points (8 goals, 22 assists) in 29 games since the All-Star break.