Stars try to gain ground on Canucks in West
Monday, 01.31.2011 / 9:14 PM
NHL.comCANUCKS (31-10-9) at STARS (30-15-5)
: SNET-P, Fox Sports-Southwest.
: Vancouver 4-2-4; Dallas 7-2-1.
: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Vancouver is seeking its third straight win against the Stars, as it most recently cruised to a 7-1 victory on Jan. 24 at Rogers Arena.
: Two big points in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference are on the line as the Stars attempt to pull within four points of the Canucks, who currently possess the No. 1 seed. Dallas has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the League this season, as it enters Tuesday's action with a five-point lead atop the Pacific Division.
: With center Alexandre Bolduc is expected to miss a few more weeks with a dislocated shoulder, Vancouver has promoted 20-year-old Cody Hodgson. The 10th overall selection at the 2008 Entry Draft, Hodgson has 16 points (10 goals, 6 assists) in 28 games for the AHL's Manitoba Moose this season.
Hodgson is expected to center Vancouver's fourth line on Tuesday night.
"Since Alex Bolduc got hurt, we've been trying different combinations," said Canucks Assistant GM Lawrence Gillman. "Cody is a natural center and this gives us the opportunity to get that skill set in our lineup."
: Dallas was well represented at the All-Star Game this weekend, as forwards Brad Richards
and Loui Eriksson
both participated in the festivities from Raleigh, N.C. Eriksson was one of the game's top performers, as he had two goals and two assists for Team Lidstrom in an 11-10 win against Team Staal.
"Definitely, they both are guys that have had excellent seasons," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "Loui's a guy that's emerged the last couple of years, he had 36 goals two years ago, last year he was almost a point-a-game guy, and he's just continued on. He's getting stronger, he's getting more comfortable with how the League is. I think he's recognizing now that he's a good player and people know that he's a good player. So he's adjusted to playing against the No. 1 defense pairings and all the things that come with people in the League knowing that you're a good player.
"I think he's been aided greatly by playing with Brad Richards
. Brad is a guy that shares his knowledge and is very communicative with Loui. They're talking all the time about what they see on the ice and how they can take advantage of people when they're out there, and I think that can never be underestimated. I think you learn best, or at least it's always been the case since I've been in the League, when you learn from veteran players. Loui has a great one in Brad to guide him."
: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo hasn't lost in regulation in 17 consecutive starts (12-0-5). … Stars forward Adam Burish
has two goals in his last four games. He has a career-high seven goals this season.
: Besides Bolduc, Vancouver will be without Alexander Edler (back), Sami Salo (ACL) and Rick Rypien (personal reasons). Andrew Alberts (shoulder) and Aaron Rome (knee) are questionable. … Stars centers Jamie Benn
and Tom Wandell
are day-to-day with upper-body injuries. Toby Petersen
(leg) and Jeff Woywitka
(shoulder) are out.
: Dallas went 8-2-1 in January and enters Tuesday's action with 30 wins. The Stars didn't record their 30th victory last season until March 16.
: "We're just going to try to keep it going here, work real hard and make it to the playoffs. I think the whole team is trying to work as hard as we can because we haven't been there in a while, so everyone is ready for it." -- Stars forward Loui Eriksson