The Anaheim Ducks open the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Dallas Stars. The Ducks won the Pacific Division and secured the first seed in the Western Conference. The road in the west will have to go through Anaheim. The Stars will be the Ducks’ first test.
Game starts at 7:00 p.m.
Season Series: 1-2-0
Last Match-Up: 0-2 (Feb. 1, 2014)
The last time these two teams met, the Ducks were blanked by the Dallas Stars. Former Duck goalie Dan Ellis earned the shutout. Trevor Daley scored in the second period to give the Stars a 1-0. In the final minutes of the third period, the Ducks pulled Jonas Hiller for the extra attacker, but Jamie Benn scored an empty net goal to put the game away 2-0.
Keys to the Game:
1. First Period: The Ducks rallied in each of their final three games of the season after trailing early. It will be key for the Ducks to come out ahead or at least tied at the end of the first period.
2. Defense: The Ducks need to keep the crease clear in front of their starting goaltender. They can’t allow the Stars to screen the goalie for an extended period of time.
1. Speed: The Stars team has a great overall team speed. They need to use their speed to create turnovers and odd man rushes.
2. Physical: The Stars need to put the body on the Ducks forwards to slow them down through the neutral zone. The Stars are going to have maintain good zone discipline to try to contain the Ducks offense.
Who To Watch:
1. Stephane Robidas played on the Stars for eight and a half seasons. He should be extra motivated to beat his former team.
2. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 87 points. He has played very well this year and look for him to carry the team in the playoffs.
1. Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with 37 goals and 84 points. He recorded four points in the five final games of the regular season and leads the team in power play goals.
2. Jamie Benn is second in scoring on the Stars with 34 goals. Benn always seems to play well against Anaheim and the Ducks defense needs to put a body on him every time he hits the ice.
Frederik Andersen: 20-5-0, 2.29 GAA, .923 SV%
Kari Lehtonen: 33-20-6, 2.41 GAA, .919 SV%
54-20-8, 116 points (Last 10: 7-2-1)
40-31-11, 91 points (Last 10: 6-4-0)
On paper it looks like the Ducks should win this series, but nothing is certain in the NHL playoffs.
The Ducks need to win the first game and maintain the home ice advantage in this series. The Ducks need to continue to put pressure on the Stars. Robidas may help the Ducks get past Dallas knowing the strategy and tendencies of his former team.
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