Canucks-Stars Preview

The Associated Press

Blowing leads has the Vancouver Canucks on their longest losing streak of the season, and it started with a loss to the Dallas Stars.

Perhaps a visit to Dallas is just what the Canucks need.

Vancouver attempts to remain focused for an entire game in order to end a three-game skid by continuing their road success against the Stars on Thursday night.

The Canucks (8-3-4) have lost each game of this slide by 4-3 scores following a season-high six-game winning streak. The skid started with Friday's home defeat to Dallas (8-7-1), during which Vancouver squandered a two-goal lead by giving up the final three tallies of the game.

After wasting a first-period lead Tuesday, the Canucks scored twice in the third to force overtime before falling in a shootout at league-leading Chicago.

"We had a great comeback against one of the best teams in the league," center Henrik Sedin said. "We've got to make sure that we're playing for 60 minutes. It's been three games in a row now that we've been letting off a little bit for 10 or 20 minutes a game and it's cost us so far."

Another meeting with the Stars could help, especially on the road. The Canucks are 4-0-1 in their last five visits to Dallas, winning 2-1 on March 22 most recently.

Sedin had two assists against the Stars last week, and he has five goals and 21 assists in the last 15 overall meetings. Eleven of those points have come in the last seven road games.

He's been a rare bright spot during the current slide, getting two points in each game.

Daniel Sedin has five points in that stretch, with one goal and one assist against Dallas.

The Canucks will be without right wing Jannik Hansen, who is suspended one game for delivering a forearm to the back of the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa. Hansen was assessed a roughing penalty, while Hossa exited with an injury.

Hansen has seven points after getting a career-high 39 last season.

The Stars have sandwiched their recent victory over Vancouver with two losses to Calgary. They may sympathize with the Canucks after their latest defeat Sunday. Dallas squandered a two-goal lead and gave up three unanswered goals in the final period of a 4-3 loss to the Flames to open this three-game homestand.

"It's very frustrating," right wing Reilly Smith said. "With the big win in Vancouver, it's kind of not worth it anymore because with those two points that we should have had (Sunday), we let them go."

Smith is giving Dallas some unexpected scoring punch, scoring in each of the last two games, including the opening tally against the Canucks last week. The 21-year-old rookie hadn't scored in his first 15 games in the NHL - three last season.

"I'm getting more comfortable every day," Smith said. "It was a tough start to the year, and I wanted to help the team a little bit more offensively. But everything's kind of happening for me out there right now."

Antoine Roussel, another Dallas rookie, has also found the net in back-to-back games.

It's unclear if Kari Lehtonen will be back after he exited Friday's meeting with Vancouver in the first period with a lower-body injury. However, he's 2-7-0 with a 3.59 goals-against average in 10 career matchups.

Richard Bachman made 22 saves in Lehtonen's absence Sunday after stopping 18 shots versus the Canucks.

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