Vancouver snapped its season-high five-game losing streak with a win over Nashville on Dec. 28, but has opened its trip with consecutive defeats. The Canucks are 4-9-1 in their last 14 road games, and are in the midst of playing 14 of 18 contests away from home.
Anson Carter scored the loan goal for the Canucks in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Monday. The Blues entered with four home wins and are tied with Columbus for the fewest points in the league with 25.
“I think we were flat, and it’s happened way too many times for us this year,” Canucks leading scorer Markus Naslund said. “For some reason, we’ve come and given teams chances to get the lead on us. It’s difficult once you’re down a couple of goals to get back and, obviously, it gives them confidence and a boost, too.”
Goaltender Alex Auld made 22 saves to drop to 1-3-2 in his last six starts. Auld is 8-6-2 with a 3.17 goals-against average since taking over for starter Dan Cloutier, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury in November.
Auld is 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA in four career starts against the Stars.
Dallas is also struggling of late, losing 3-2 to Los Angeles on Monday in the back end of a home-and-home series between the Pacific Division’s top two teams.
The Stars also lost 3-2 to the Kings on Saturday and have dropped three of their last four overall. Dallas hasn’t lost three in a row since the end of the 2003-04 season.
“We certainly deserved a better fate,” said Dallas goalie Marty Turco, who made 24 saves. “You want to close those kind of games out, but a bad bounce is all it takes. We’ve put ourselves in a position to be close to the top of our division by not letting things that we can’t control bother us.”
Turco, 1-4-1 with a 2.34 GAA in his last six starts, has received little help from an offense that has scored 11 goals over that stretch.
Turco is 8-2-0 with a 1.86 GAA in his career against the Canucks, including 4-1-0 with a 1.31 GAA at home.
Vancouver has won two straight in this series after losing seven of the previous eight meetings.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 3): Canucks - 47 points, 3rd place, 5 PB, Northwest Division. Stars - 50 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 21 goals and 44 points; Todd Bertuzzi, 26 assists and 70 PIM. Stars - Jere Lehtinen, 20 goals; Mike Modano, 24 assists and 39 points; Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott, 87 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 3): Canucks - Power play: 18.6 percent (49 for 264), tied for 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (196 for 240), 18th. Stars - Power play: 16.7 percent (42 for 251), tied for 18th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (207 for 244), 7th.
SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 16; Canucks, 5-2. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Bertuzzi scored his 200th career goal and Auld made 18 saves for the Canucks.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 7-10-2 on the road; Stars - 11-8-1 at home.