Canucks Army GDT #5: Canucks @ Stars

Here at Canucks Army, we make no secret that we’re all fans of Jamie Benn. And really, can you blame us? What’s not to love? The guy scores highlight reel goals, has won World Junior and Olympic gold medals, hits like a freight train, once busted open Jarome Iginla, and to top it all off, is from Victoria, B.C.

Benn solidified himself as a legitimate NHL star last season when he found an elite linemate in Tyler Seguin, and Jim Nill’s offseason additions of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky look to have vaulted Dallas into the conversation as one of the outside contenders to wrestle the Central Division crown away from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Needless to say, Tuesday’s 5:30 PM showdown against the Stars is going to be another stiff test for the Canucks. Read past the jump.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 5:30 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineup

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Kevin Bieksa 
Kevin Bieksa
Dan Hamhuis 
Dan Hamhuis
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber

Only a couple of minor tweaks to the lineup since Saturday, as Shawn Matthias swaps places with Linden Vey, bumping Vey to the 4th line, and Yannick Weber takes Luca Sbisa’s spot with Dan Hamhuis. Ryan Miller also draws back in, looking to build on Friday’s 2-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Canucks’ new bench boss Willie Desjardins is making his return to Texas tonight, as he was an associate coach with Dallas from 2010-2012, and the head coach of the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate, for the past two seasons. While behind the Texas bench, Desjardins guided the AHL Stars to a 91-40-21 record, winning the Calder Cup last season.

The Stars are off to a solid start to the year, with a 2-1-2 record. Tyler Seguin leads Dallas with 8 points in 4 games, and Jason Spezza sits second on the team with 7. Spezza started the year on Dallas’ second line, but has quickly found himself on the first line with Seguin and Jamie Benn, bumping Seguin to right wing. Dallas does have enough forward depth to load up one line though, as Ales Hemsky and Erik Cole find themselves on lines 3 and 4 respectively.

The Stars have Antoine Roussel, Cody Eakin, and Ryan Garbutt projected to be their second line tonight, and this trio, while traditionally effective, has struggled to start the year. Eakin in particular is sporting a paltry 37.1% Corsi, while Roussel and Garbutt are both hovering in the low-40’s. Dallas is a sub-50% Corsi team so far this year, and the struggles of this unit are undoubtedly a massive reason for that. Fortunately for the Stars (and unfortunately for their future opponents), this performance is out of line with what to expect from Dallas’ depth given their history, so a regression well towards 50% or better is in order.

At the end of the day though, this is very much a matchup between two elite first lines, and two teams that have adopted a more up-tempo, offensive style. This is especially true for Dallas, as they play some of the highest event 5v5 hockey in the NHL. They rank 9th in CorsiFor/60, but are the 5th worst team at preventing shot attempts in the league too. Both teams have also been traditionally strong on the powerplay, so we could be in for a 6-5 game tonight. Fun!

And we’ll leave you with some of Jamie Benn’s finest goals. Just because.

Jamie Benn is pretty good at this hockey thing.

  • Chungus

    In Seguin, Spezza & Hemsky, the Stars formed a core on the cheap in a matter of months.

    And the Canucks gave away Old Glory stalwarts Luongo & Kesler for pennies on the dollar while watching half of the Western Conference usurp them in the standings.

    Well played Mr Gaglardi…

  • Chungus

    I believe this short road trip will go along way to shaping how this Canucks team plays this year.

    The Sedins and Vrbata should do well, but the media is just waiting to jump on “is Miller worth it” , “no second line center” “third line scoring” “defensive depth” Ect….. And they are all concerns on certain levels. With the young guys and new gutys and shot of confidence on a road trip could go along way!

    Take away some dumb penalties and the Tampa game could have gone much differently. Play hard and smart and the team should do well

  • Chungus

    The better teams (Dallas included) should not have an issue shutting down the Sedin line. We don’t have a shut down line although Bonino’s line seems to have the guys to make that checking line. We’re still lacking secondary scoring and I don’t know if line 1 can carry the load; the Sedins can be shut down. I think we’re looking at a loss…something like 4-1 is my guess.

    • Chungus

      If early results are any sign, I believe the Sedins line will be a little tougher to shut down now that the have Vrbata.

      In the past, teams only had to play the twins cycle and account for Burrows setting up at the far post or in front of the net. Vrbata plays more of the Sedins style game, therefore having three guys that cycle drop appear out of nowhere will be tougher to stop.

      It’s definitely not impossible,, but tougher. Those types of games the other lines will have to score, but also draw penalties to give the top PP line a shot.

  • Chungus

    Half a game done and Nucks down 6-1…. Pathetic display of defense!

    Burrows tips one in loses Cole in the slot then Tanev wipes out Miller! Can you get goalie interference on your own net?? Those are the highlights so far.

    I would just say one of those games, but no…. This happened too much last season. Bad penalties, own goals, defensive break downs…. The difference is the Game is now up tempo, but there is no hustle back on D and if there is, they look like a bunch of temp year olds chasing the puck and tripping each other…

    Sad to watch

  • Chungus

    The more things change, the more things stay the same…

    I’ve always thought that it was a wasted opportunity, during the lockout 2012-2013 season, not to rebuild by dismantling the core of this team. Especially with the strong 2013 draft class beckoning and the fans having to endure only 1/2 a season of suck for a A level prospect. Instead, the owner’s agenda of maximizing revenue conflicted with his stated desire of bringing a Stanley Cup to this city.

    Lost within last season’s off ice shuffle, is still this delusional goal of making the playoffs and rebuilding on the fly. Any hope of a culture change by the new hires were dashed the moment Miller was signed to that $18 million contract (Benning… I thought that you were a great talent evaluator?). In its place, are years more of futility and mediocrity.

    All the while, our expansion cousins have amassed a collection of young talent by doing what this ownership group has failed to do… a complete rebuild. Anyone willing to wager that Buffalo will win the Cup before us?

    Depressed Canucks Fan