Well, it’s simple, the Ducks are basically just about out of the playoff race. It’s going to take a hell of a lot to breach the top 8 now. Tonight, the Ducks travel down to Dallas to take on the second hottest team in the league in the Stars. The Stars are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and have won 4 in a row. Dallas last played on thursday night in American Airlines against the San Jose Sharks and won 4-3 in a shootout. Here’s some things to look for:
1. Frustrating Loss to St. Louis:
The Ducks are coming off the loss in St. Louis on thursday night. For a majority of the game, the Ducks were right along with the best team in the league, according to the points standings. However, the deciding factor in the end was the poor special teams by the Ducks. The PK allowed two PP goals to St. Louis’ David Backes and failed to convert on their own PP. Coach Boudreau said that he thought the Ducks were “pretty darned good,” but he was right when he said, “it doesn’t do us any good.”
2. Stars have been owning the Ducks of late:
The Stars have won four of the first five meetings this season, including two wins at AA, 5-3 and 1-0. In the last 9 meetings between these two teams, the Stars are 6-1-2. The Stars defense and goaltending have baffled the Ducks at many points throughout the series so far this season. Also, as a side note, there is not a single player on the current Ducks that is a positive when it comes to plus/minus. The only two players who have dressed for the Ducks to be in the positives against the Stars are Defenseman Kurtis Foster, who only played one game against the Stars as a Duck, and Forward Kyle Palmieri. Another interesting little note, the only win for the Ducks against the Stars this season came with Jeff Deslauriers in net.
3. Mike Ribeiro has always played well against the Ducks:
The 32-year-old from Montreal has enjoyed playing against the Ducks throughout his career. He’s been with the Stars since the 2006-2007 season. He’s averaged 66 points per season in his career with the Stars. At 6’0″, 177 lbs, he is not a big body but he can handle his own in the offensive zone. He has points in 7 straight games against the Ducks and is a career +20 against the Ducks.
4. Ducks struggling special teams:
With the amount of talent that the Ducks have up front, the PP should never be cold. However, that’s exactly what’s happened lately. Anaheim was 0-for-3 in St. Louis, and are just 4-for-40 in their last 13 games. There are no excuses ever, especially at this point in the season. The star players on this team need to step up on the power play where they are expected perform. That’s going to have to tighten up tonight against Dallas whose PK has helped them propel to the top of the division. The Stars PK has killed of 26 of their last 27 times being shorthanded. To go along with the poor PP lately, the PK has been just as bad, if not worse. That equals an all around terrible special teams performance lately. The Ducks have been penalized 27 times in the last 9 games and have allowed 10 PP goals in that time.
5. Corey Perry scores a lot of goals:
He is one of the top goal scorers in the league. He scored the only goal for the Ducks in St. Louis on thursday. He also has scored four goals in the last four games. The Ducks can only hope he continues to put the puck in the net at this point of the season, along with a few other players, such as Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan.
Not much is left in the season, just 14 games. The way the Ducks have looked lately, it looks like those are going to be the last games of this 2011-2012 campaign.
Goaltending Matchup: Jonas Hiller vs. Kari Lehtonen
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