Tonight the Anaheim Ducks make their first and only visit to American Airlines Arena to face-off against the new look Dallas Stars. The Ducks enter the game after winning their last two games after losing their previous five. Meanwhile the Stars enter the game after losing their last two games after winning six of their last seven games. The Stars have also lost four straight at home.
Season Series: 1-0
Last Matchup: 6-3 (Oct. 20, 2013)
In their last matchup, the Ducks found themselves down 3-1 after the first period, with a power play goal from Teemu Selanne. The Ducks stormed back in the second period with two goals from Corey Perry, one of them on the power play, and a shorthanded goal from Emerson Etem put the Ducks on top late in the period. A goal each from Ryan Getzlaf and Mathieu Perreault solidified the comeback victory for the Ducks. One interesting note from this game was that Ducks rookie netminder Frederik Andersen replaced Jonas Hiller at the start of the second period. When Andersen entered the game, making his NHL debut, it marked the first time that two goaltenders debuted in the same game since October 12, 2005, Stars’ rookie Jack Campbell made the start in net that night.
Keys to the Game:
- : Better goaltending, 5 goals on 18 shots is not good.
- : Keep up offensive pressure on Ducks depleted defense.
- : Allowed a season-high number of shots against Phoenix, Dallas’ top lines can not be given that many opportunities.
- : Jonas Hiller has been insane lately, can he keep it up?
Players to Watch:
- - C – Jamie Benn: He doesn’t get enough attention as he should because Benn is one of the best kept secrets in the league. He’s only 24 and has as much talent as anyone else in the league.
- - F – Tyler Seguin: When paired with Benn, these two are an absolutely lethal combination. He’s only 21 by the way.
- - C – Ryan Getzlaf: He’s continuing his MVP-caliber season and he has a seven game point streak. This guy is so fun to watch right now.
- - G – Jonas Hiller: Like I said before, he’s been incredible lately, allowing only 2 goals on 75 shots in the last two games.
- - Kari Lehtonen: 10-5-2, 2.28 GAA, .924 SV%
- - Jonas Hiller: 9-3-2, 2.53 GAA, .908 SV%
Lehtonen has been one of the best goalies in the league so far. He’s already made some of the best saves you will see all season long, but he’s coming off his worst performance of the year. The Stars’ offense is driven by the combination of Benn and Seguin, but they have some other young guys who can be dangerous offensively, such as Alex Chiasson, Cody Eakin and rookie Valeri Nichushkin. Oh and they’re getting veteran Ray Whitney back tonight. On the blueline, Sergei Gonchar has been a disappointment. However, Stephane Robidas, Alex Goligoski and Brendan Dillon are all playing well right now.
The Ducks have been inconsistent if you look at their play over the past few weeks, but they are coming off two of their best performances of the month against Tampa Bay and Phoenix. However, the injuries continue to pile up. Bryan Allen is the latest player to miss a game as Nolan Yonkman will take his place and make his Ducks debut tonight. This will be a tough game, but the Ducks have bigger games coming up that will help give them a chance to make a statement on where they stand in the Western Conference. Hopefully, they’re not looking forward to coming weeks where they will play Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago and St. Louis.
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