The Dallas Stars hope to translate their solid play, especially on special teams, into more victories as they continue a five-game road trip Monday night against the surprising Vancouver Canucks, who have won four straight. Dallas moved one game over .500 with a 2-1 victory at Calgary on Friday night and was in the top two of the league on both the power play and penalty kill through Saturday’s contests.
“The record (6-5-0) is not near indicative of how we have played, but it is what it is,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ve had to endure a lot of heartbreak on losses where we have played well. There are a lot of things we like, but there are nuances we have to change.” The Stars, who play at Winnipeg on Thursday, are 1-2-0 on their trip and have earned at least a point in 13 straight (12-0-1) against Vancouver. The Canucks, who did earn a 5-4 overtime victory over Dallas at home last November, are a different team this season and have given up just five goals during their current win streak. “I just think everyone’s buying in,” Vancouver forward Derek Dorsett told Sportsnet. “Everyone’s chipping in and having fun playing hard. I think we have the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been here (four seasons) and it’s showing.”
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest Plus (Dallas), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE STARS (6-5-0): Dallas went 5-for-8 with the man advantage in the last two games to ascend to the top of the league at 32.4 percent and are 21-of-21 on the penalty kill over the last seven contests to improve to 92.1 percent. “The power play is good, but we’ve got to start scoring 5-on-5,” forward Alexander Radulov, who has four points in the last two games, told reporters. “That’s a really big thing right now for our team.” Captain Jamie Benn was kept off the scoresheet against Calgary, but owns all of his team-leading seven goals in the last eight contests and tops the Stars with 13 points.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (6-3-1): Anders Nilsson has been between the pipes for outstanding performances in the last two games, improving to 3-1-0 with a .943 save percentage and 1.89 goals-against average, but Jacob Markstrom (3-2-1, .908, 2.48) won the first two in the streak. Brock Boeser had a career-high three points (all assists) in the 6-2 win over Washington on Thursday and leads the team with nine in eight games. Dorsett continues to produce with all of his six goals in the last seven games to lead the team and fellow forward Sven Baertschi notched four goals in the last three contests.
1. The Canucks are 11-for-11 on the penalty kill since giving up four power-play goals against Boston on Oct. 19.
2. Dallas G Ben Bishop, who was rested in Friday’s victory, has just an .899 save percentage in seven career games against the Canucks.
3. Vancouver F Daniel Sedin has been held without a point in the last two games and remains 10 away from 1,000 in his career.
PREDICTION: Stars 4, Canucks 1