Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Welcome Back

“Why you’ve returned?” said the Canucks writer.

Chuckling, the disgruntled Canucks fan and occasional reader replied, “Yes we forgive you for having an opinion on Cody. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer as we can see just yet.”

“Well thank you!” the writer exclaimed graciously.

Honey Badger don't care 'bout Mark Fistric

When the Dallas Stars take to the Rogers Arena ice Monday night, they may very well be facing their 1st round opponent in the playoffs.

Old news, I know; but the dynamic of this budding rivalry is something rather marvelous. Of course I would like to think the NHL schedule makers simply saw the future last year when they laboured away and manufactured this year’s agenda.

This will be the 2nd meeting of the two teams in what will be a total of four over a span of 34 days. If the two should meet in the first round 2 weeks later, another seven games could put this battle over the top.

I’m talking goalie fights and line brawls; something reminiscent of the Canucks and Hawks rivalry, but all packed into about two months.

Call me crazy, but I’m excited about this becoming a bigger rivalry; especially when we are on the verge of re-alignment. That won’t be happening next season because the players are just silly, but it should be sooner than later and the Stars and Canucks will be able to continue something being processed this month and hopefully next.

Neither of these teams have clinched a playoff spot. Obviously the Canucks are going to but for analogy’s sake, let’s say the playoff door is still locked for both these teams. What are the keys for each to winning the game and opening that door?

Dallas Looking for Breathing Room

The Stars ended up not trading Steve Ott at the trade deadline which was probably a good thing and the main reason why a Canucks v. Stars 1st round matchup would be extra feisty. In that game against Dallas a couple weeks ago, Ott was invisible almost as if he was avoiding ticking off any Canucks should he have been traded the next day.

Alas, he wasn’t and now the Stars are in 8th spot, 1, but possibly 3 points ahead of LA come Monday night; should they beat Calgary Sunday.

While not one of the higher scoring teams, they are averaging three goals for in their last six.

The Canucks on the other hand, who are 2-1-2 in their last five games since beating Detroit, are on a bit of a whirlwind, unpredictable, slumpy sort of stretch. They’re kind of like that guy who’s ahead of you in a 10KM race and while you’re consistently keeping up with him without passing, he all of a sudden trips on his own feet while you catch up a little bit more.

The point being that the Stars really don’t know how the Canucks are going to come out.

ADVANTAGE: Vancouver

How Will Lu and/or Schnu Respond?

Saturday night was a night to forget for Roberto Luongo. I’m not hating on the guy but his stats line was atrocious. I can appreciate that it was just not his night and the Sabres came out fast but his GAA was astronomical, over 30.

Bobby Lu, How...are you doing lately?

Anyhow, we don’t know who will start yet but I’m betting it’ll be Luongo. Cory Schneider did well in relief but Roberto needs a chance to get his strombone mojo back. A game against a team as desperate as Dallas who will fire off many, many shots is the perfect recipe for success.

Bobby Lu shines when he faces more rubber. Kinda like…oh nevermind.

Let’s not forget Kari Lehtonen though. He’s played in only one less game than Roberto Luongo, and actually has a better GAA; 2.30. Luongo sits at 2.35 on the season. Their SV%’s are virtually identical, separated by 1/1000th of a percentage.

Yet another thing that could add to a great playoff series. I don’t disagree that the tandem of Luongo and Schneider is better than Lehtonen and Bachman (not Randy) but maybe it makes for more tight games than wide open ones.

ADVANTAGE: Vancouver

Cody Hod…just kidding…Gelatin

Earlier this month, I likened the Sedins to Ford Mustangs much like Sidney Crosby had been likened to a Ferrari.

They’re thoroughbred horses with lots of gelatin to go around in the form of pretty passes and clutch scoring.

So along comes the trade deadline and the Canucks are the busiest team in the league.

The Canucks were mixed around like a bowl of jello mix last week and Saturday versus Buffalo, they sat in the refrigerator, remained really cold and gelled to a perfect consistency.

Zack Kassian has hopefully found some permanent chemistry with Ryan Kesler and David Booth while Sami Pahlsson actually could’ve been a lot worse. He finished at -1 in 11:27 of ice-time but to be fair, most of the minuses handed out to Canucks are the fault of Aaron Rome.

On top of that, Marc-Andre Gragnani looked like the second coming of Ed Jovanovski with his aggressive style on the power-play.

So BOOYAH!

BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver Canucks of British Columbia, Canada

Puck drop is at 7PM on Sportsnet Pacific and TEAM1040 Radio.

CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE ON NWSB!

© Vancan19 for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share NWSportsBeat.com on Facebook

Post tags: 2012, Alain Vigneault, Canucks, Canucks Blog, Canucks Clubhouse, Canucks Matchups, Canucks Preview, Cody Hodgson, Dallas, Dallas Stars, dallas stars vs. vancouver canucks, dallas vs. vancouver, elliott pap, game 67, Game Notes, game preview, hockey blog, jason botchford, Mike Gillis, NHL, NHL Preview, Rogers Arena, Stars, stars canucks preview, stars preview, Stars vs. Canucks, stars vs. canucks gameday, stars vs. canucks preview, Team 1040 Radio, team1040, Vancouver Canucks, vancouver canucks vs. buffalo sabres, vancouver canucks vs. dallas stars, vancouver province, Vancouver Sun, vancouver vs. buffalo, Western Conference, Zack Kassian

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Robert Kraft testifies, recalls conversation with Hernandez

Phil Jackson issues message of hope to season ticket holders

Report: Heart attack prompted Armstead's retirement from Pats

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Can we envision the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Finals?

Bettor to win $1M if Michigan State wins national title

Five NFL coaches already on the hot seat

WATCH: Stars' Patrik Nemeth catches puck inside visor

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

University of California soccer player found dead

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

Five coaches already on the hot seat

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.