After a sleepy start to begin a seven-game homestand at Rogers Arena, Vancouver will look to get back on track at home Tuesday against a Dallas Stars club that is peaking at the right time.
It wasn't too long ago that the Stars were looking like a potential first round opponent for the Canucks, but Dallas has strung together a 6-0-1 span to vault into first in the Pacific Division.
As a result, Dallas is third in the Western Conference, although Phoenix and San Jose are nipping at their heels.
Vancouver had won six in a row against the Stars dating back to late 2009, but squandered a two-goal lead in Dallas in a matinee game on Feb. 26, with Loui Eriksson scoring in overtime to give the home side a 3-2 overtime win.
The Stars and Canucks continue the process of building up hate for each other, and will also play March 22 and March 30.
Vancouver (41-17-8) begins play one point ahead of Detroit and St. Louis in the race for the top seed in the West, but they hardly looked like an elite team on Saturday.
Roberto Luongo was gone within eight minutes as the Buffalo Sabres roared out to a 3-0 lead and held off a late surge by the Canucks.
Zack Kassian, obtained at the trade deadline from Buffalo in the deal that saw Cody Hodgson go the other way, scored a goal and an assist for his first Canuck points in the 5-3 loss.
"The only thing I had as far as knowledge of what he could do was what our scouts were saying and they felt really highly that this guy has the potential to be a top-six forward," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of Kassian. "How long that's going to take him? I'm not quite sure."
Kassian played on the second line with Ryan Kesler and David Booth, and now the Canucks hope their top guns will get back to their typical production rate.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin have combined for just one point over the last five games — an assist by Daniel.
Henrik Sedin is having his worst stretch without a point since an eight-game drought Nov. 29-Dec. 20, 2003.
All indications are that Luongo will be back in the crease Tuesday.
Luongo has won all eight home starts versus the Stars as a member of the Canucks, posting a 1.84 goals-against average.
Dallas (35-26-5) has declared through social media that backup Richard Bachman, not star Kari Lehtonen, is slated to start against the Canucks.
The Stars evidently want to save Lehtonen for division games later in the week against the Sharks and Anaheim.
Lehtonen made 36 saves in Sunday's 3-2 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames.
Eriksson had a goal and an assist, giving him nine points in the last six games.
Vancouver will continue their homestand Thursday against Winnipeg.