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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 6th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (28-26-10) at Dallas Stars (29-23-10), 8:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks opted to hold on to center Ryan Kesler for a possible run at the playoffs and the struggling club tries to avoid a fourth straight setback on Thursday night when it visits the Dallas Stars.

The Canucks figured to be active prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, getting a jump on things the previous day when they dealt goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers for netminder Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias.

Kesler's name was heavy in the rumor cycle going into the deadline, but no deal was done and the 29-year-old can now focus on trying to get the Canucks back into a playoff spot. They are currently two points behind the Stars for the second wild card position in the Western Conference thanks to losses in 10 of their past 11 games.

Kesler leads the Canucks with 21 goals and is third on the club with 39 points, one back of both Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Daniel Sedin, though, is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, further hindering an offense that has scored just eight goals in the previous eight games.

Vancouver failed to light the lamp on Tuesday versus the Phoenix Coyotes, falling 1-0.

Eddie Lack, the Canucks' clear No. 1 goaltender with Luongo dealt, stopped 31 shots.

"We just couldn't get that last push and it's just been that way for the last month or so," said Lack. "These games are important and we need to start putting together some wins real quick."

The 26-year-old rookie is 9-10-4 in 26 games this season, but with a solid 2.05 goals against average and .926 save percentage along with three shutouts. Lack has never started versus the Stars, but did face them in relief on Dec. 19 and stopped all seven shots faced in 17 1/2 minutes of action.

The Stars have won both of their meetings with the Canucks this season, taking three in a row and six of the last nine encounters overall.

Dallas, just one point ahead of both Phoenix and the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card berth, failed to earn a point for just the second time in its last nine games (5-2-2) when it lost a 4-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Coming off a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres the previous night, the Stars got goals from Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley as well as 16 saves by backup netminder Dan Ellis.

Ellis was making his first appearance since Feb. 1 and it turned out to be his last with the Stars as he was dealt to Florida for goaltender Tim Thomas, who became expendable when the Panthers acquired Luongo.

Thomas will help lessen the load for Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen and provide veteran insurance in the crease after going 16-20-3 with a 2.87 GAA in 40 games for the Panthers.

"We've liked how he's played. He's played very well. He's experienced," Dallas general manager Jim Nill told his team's website of Thomas. "I think it is going to be good for Kari Lehtonen to see a guy, how he prepares, how he handles pressure. Kari is kind of growing into this role. It's Kari's team still, but when we have back-to-back games or four games in six nights, he knows there is somebody that can go into the net and the team is going to continue to win. That's very important."

Lehtonen figures to get the start tonight and is 5-7-0 with a 2.92 GAA lifetime versus the Canucks.

03/06 11:04:09 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 104
LAL 103
Final
GT 49
UNC 81
Final
CLEM 61
NCSU 66
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
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8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
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Final
DET 15
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MIA 7
MIAFLA 1
 
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PHI 5
NYY 5
 
Final
BOS 2
NEASTERN 1
 
Final
TOR 7
PIT 8
 
Final
CIN 10
CLE 0
 
Final
OAK 9
SFG 4
 
Final
BOS 1
BOSTONCOLL 0
 
Final
ARI 4
ASU 0
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
DET
 
1:05pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
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NYY
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
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3:05pm Today
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CLE
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SEA
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MIL
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3:10pm Today
COL
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7:05pm Tonight
MIN
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Final
CLE 110
BOS 79
Final
CHA 104
LAL 103
Final
NYK 86
SAC 124
Final
ATL 104
HOU 96
Final
MEM 82
UTA 93
Final
CHI 97
WAS 92
Final
DEN 106
MIL 95
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ORL
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7:30pm Tonight
BRK
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TOR
CLE
 
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BOS
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MIA
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OKC
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GSW
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Final
UMO 70
AKR 63
 
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NAVY 56
ARMY 52
 
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BST 60
EMICH 67
 
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BUT 54
GEOR 60
Final
IND 63
IOWA 77
Final
FLGC 81
JVU 63
 
Final
USCU 90
KNST 54
 
Final
BGU 80
KSU 81
 
Final
NKENTUCKY 73
LIP 76
 
Final
HC 62
GHND 45
 
Final
RUTG 50
MD 60
Final
GT 49
UNC 81
Final
BUF 93
OHIO 66
 
Final
ALA 74
MISS 82
Final
DAY 75
RIU 59
Final
CMICH 85
TOL 77
 
Final
DET 77
YOUNG 67
Final
UNF 81
STET 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 83
HOUB 71
 
Final
NDAK 78
NEOM 80
 
Final
NILL 65
WMICH 63
 
Final
ILLCH 60
WRST 57
Final
MIZZ 63
AUB 61
Final
UGA 64
KENT 72
Final
NW 82
MICH 78
Final
CLEM 61
NCSU 66
Final
UF 66
TEXAM 62
Final
KU 76
WVU 69
Final
CREI 72
VILL 76
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PBY
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GWEBB
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UNCA
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Final
PHI 2
CAL 3
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NJD 3
NAS 1
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CLB 3
WAS 5
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TAM 3
BUF 0
Final
FLA 2
TOR 3
Final
MIN 3
OTT 2
Final
DAL 3
NYI 2
Final
ARI 1
ANA 4
Final
VAN 2
SJS 6
Final
EDM 2
LOS 5
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