Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Anaheim Ducks (9:00pm CDT)

Anaheim Ducks (3-3-1) @ Dallas Stars (3-2-3)

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009. 9:00pm CDT

Honda Center

Local TV: FSN

Radio: KTCK 1310 The Ticket

Opponents Blog: Battle of California: Anaheim Calling

The Stars begin another three game trip tonight in Anaheim as they take on the Ducks at the Honda Center. Dallas took two of three in Southern California last year, and will look to repeat those performances in an effort to right the ship after a very disappointing effort against the Kings, Monday night on home ice.

Dallas thought they had a chance to deny the Ducks their trip to the playoffs last year when the Stars closed out their season in Anaheim, but fell in the shootout. (heard that one somewhere lately?) As far as I'm concerned, the Ducks first round performance against the Sharks was well worth the defeat to end the year for Dallas. The Stars took points in five of six games against Anaheim last season.

Injuries will continue to be a story line for Dallas tonight, with several key contributors still out. Though Anaheim has struggled in recent games, they remain, for the most part, healthy.

A look at both teams and injury updates after the jump:

Dallas: The Stars are a team poised to roll in any number of directions. They've had some encouraging performances, and have pulled points in six of their first eight games, but recent losses to Boston and Los Angeles have Dallas faithful wondering what this team really is.

Further complicating the proceedings is the absence of key contributors at the center position (Brad Richards and Mike Modano). Brandon detailed the Stars woes down the middle yesterday: here. After attempting to plug AHL prospects Pertu Lindgren and Aaron Gagnon, the Stars will (apparently) use Tom Wandell (-2 against the Kings) to center Loui Eriksson and James Neal. That line, which was Dallas' most impressive in preseason play, was rendered ineffective without Richards on Monday. Francis Wathier has also been recalled from Austin, and would be the 4th Star to make their NHL debut this season if he plays on this trip.

In goal for Dallas will be Marty Turco, who will no doubt be looking for a little goal support from his mates. The Stars have scored one goal (total) in Marty's previous two starts.

Anaheim: This will be the Stars first look at an Anaheim team that includes Saku Koivu. Despite that off-season acquisition, this Duck team has failed to be the offensive force they had hoped. Center Ryan Getzlaf has only 3 assists to go with his eye-popping zero goals through seven games.

His struggles aside, without Modano or Richards in the lineup, which line would you send out against the Getzlaf trio?

Anaheim did score six goals against the same Boston team that dominated Dallas last Friday night, but has since been shutout by the Rangers and the Blues, both road games. The Ducks boast a 2.14 goals per game average, but the number drops to 1.33 when looking only at their three home games.

They're currently in an 0-17 PP drought. If anyone can sympathize, it's Stars fans. Dallas has been held without a power play goal in three straight. Special teams, it seems, will once again play a huge role tonight.

Injuries:

Dallas: will get pest/instigator/energy-man Steve Ott, and all of his glowing personality back tonight in Anaheim. This week on The Ticket with Norm Hitzges, Ott confessed to researching current statistical streaks and personal details about his upcoming quarry, so that he might be armed with the most harmful verbiage imaginable on game-night. Go get 'em Otter!

Mike Modano (rib) and Jere Lehtinen (intercostal muscle) did not make the trip. Brad Richards is questionable for Wednesday and Thursday.

Anaheim: is currently dealing with only D James Wisniewski (shoulder). Mike Heika says he is doubtful, the NHL.com game preview says he is a go for Wednesday, so we'll see.

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