Sliding Canucks take on visiting Stars

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to put the brakes on their longest skid of the season when they host the Dallas Stars in Wednesday's battle at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks are on an 0-3-1 slide, a stretch that counts as only Vancouver's second losing streak of the season. The only other time the club suffered consecutive defeats was with two straight losses against Tampa Bay and Dallas from Oct 18-21.

The Stars slammed Vancouver 6-3 back in that October meeting in Big D, with Erik Cole notching two goals for the home team and Jamie Benn, Ryan Garbutt and Tyler Seguin each adding a goal and a helper. It was the fifth straight win in the series for Dallas overall and the Stars also have claimed two in a row and three of the last four encounters in British Columbia.

Vancouver hopes to reverse the recent trend against the Stars after losing its past two outings in regulation by a combined 8-2 score. The Canucks lost 3-1 in Montreal on Dec. 9 before getting slammed 5-1 by the New York Rangers on Saturday.

After ending a seven-game road trip with the loss to the Habs, the Canucks had hopes to get on track in the opener of a four-game homestand on Saturday. Instead, the Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes en route to the blowout victory at Rogers Arena. The rout pushed former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault's record against his old team to 3-0.

Nick Bonino supplied the sole offense for the Canucks, making it a 5-1 game at 4:20 of the third period. Ryan Miller was on the hook for all five goals on just 23 shots.

"I think you play a certain way and now we're getting caught on it," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. "We try to play an aggressive style and if it doesn't work it goes the other way."

Vancouver, which is tied with San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division, has fared slightly better on the road than at home this season. The Canucks are 7-4-1 as the host in 2014-15 compared to an 11-6-1 mark as the guest.

The Canucks welcome Calgary on Saturday before completing their current stay at home in Monday's clash against Arizona.

Dallas should be well rested heading into tonight's test, as Lindy Ruff's club has been idle since edging the visiting New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Saturday. It was the second win in three games for the Stars, who hope to carry that momentum into tonight's opener of a three-game road trip.

The Stars grabbed a 2-0 lead on Saturday before the Devils rallied to even the game with a pair of goals in the second period. However, Trevor Daley and Shawn Horcoff scored later in the second to give Dallas the lead for good.

Seguin and Jason Spezza each finished with a goal and an assist, while Antoine Roussel supplied two helpers for the Stars, who entered the game with five losses in their previous six games.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 28-of-31 shots in the win.

"There were a lot of good things," Ruff said. "I thought we missed in the second period, three or four point-blank that would have really put the game away."

Garbutt missed Saturday while serving the first of his three-game suspension for slew-footing Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien on Tuesday. He'll also sit out Friday's game versus Calgary before being eligible to return in the finale of the road trip Sunday in Edmonton.

Dallas has lost four straight on the road heading into this trek and hasn't posted an away victory since beating Los Angeles on Nov. 13. The Stars are 5-7-0 as the visiting team in 2014-15.

Miller is expected to start tonight for the Canucks and the veteran netminder owns a 4-4-1 record and 3.40 goals against average in nine career games against Dallas.

Lehtonen will likely get the call for the Stars and is 7-7-0 with a 2.79 GAA versus the Canucks.