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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (24-12-7) at Dallas Stars (21-18-3), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars will hope for a quick rebound on Thursday night when they try to make up ground in the playoff race in a meeting with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Stars had a five-game winning streak snapped with Monday's 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. They sit 10th overall in the Western Conference with 45 points, four back of the eighth-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets with six games to play.
The Red Wings and Blue Jackets were both in action on Wednesday and Detroit is idle tonight, while Columbus will visit the Los Angeles Kings.
Dallas will also look to get a spark from the return of goaltender Kari Lehtonen from a strained groin. The Stars' No. 1 netminder had missed the past three games, but practiced on Wednesday and will start tonight.
"Hopefully it was good to get that time off," said Lehtonen. "We have few games left here so I'm even more excited now to play. We're in a good spot to try and climb into the playoffs."
Dallas got a pair of goals from Jaime Benn in Monday's loss, while Richard Bachman made 23 saves.
"We kept it close, but we definitely know what we have to do to be the best and beat the best," Benn said. "Hopefully we can just keep pushing here. We still have a chance to make the playoffs and that's what we're going for."
Forward Alex Chiasson suffered a shoulder injury versus the Blackhawks and is expected to miss a few days of action, while Trevor Daley did not practice on Wednesday because of an upper body issue but could still play tonight.
Dallas will begin a three-game road trip on Friday in St. Louis before ending the season with two straight at home.
The Canucks continue their quest for a fifth straight Northwest Division title as they sit four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild with five games to play for both clubs. The Wild are visiting the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Vancouver is 5-1-1 in its last seven games and is coming off Tuesday's 2-1 setback to the hosting St. Louis Blues. Alex Edler had the lone goal in regulation for the Canucks, while Derek Roy and Alex Burrows had their shootout attempts stopped.
Cory Schneider, meanwhile, yielded two goals in the tiebreaker after coming up with 35 stops through overtime.
"We had the second game of back-to-back and they came out at us hard," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin about playing after a win at Nashville on Monday. "We fought back and had chances to win it."
Vancouver wraps a five-game road trip tonight and will play its next three at home before concluding the regular season on April 27 in Edmonton.
The Canucks have won three of four and 12 of their previous 16 meetings with the Stars while going 5-0-1 in their past six trips to Dallas.
04/18 11:11:54 ET