"It was two teams from two different leagues tonight," explained Stars coach Gulutzan. "And they were back-to-back. Thank the lord they weren't fresh."
With just 14 games remaining and 28 points more up for grabs, the Stars are in desperation mode as they try to prolong the meaningfulness of these games into April - And as such Kari Lehtonen expects he'll start again Monday.
"I feel pretty good," Lehtonen told media Sunday evening. "I've played a lot of games during this month and it's been fine. This time of year you are excited to play. It takes a couple of hours to think about what we could have done differently, but then after that you are excited to play tomorrow."
That's a generously positive and patient demeanor from a man who's seen the team in front of him surrender 40, 33, 42, 35 and 40 shots against in their last five contests for an average of 38.
The Ducks will be playing back-to-back as well, though that didn't slow down Los Angeles. Anaheim dropped a 2-1 overtime decision in Columbus on Easter Sunday.
Puck drop should be about 7:40 or so tonight on Fox Sports Southwest proper.
There isn't much to say lineup-wise. Vernon Fiddler is expected to continue to miss time with a charley-horse. Gulutzan was asked if he would use the same lineup Monday and offered a response befitting last night's mood.
"Yep. We are what we are," the head coach told media.
What they were last night was this:
Though it was interesting to note that Derek Roy and Cody Eakin swapped spots as the game went on. Eakin earned top-six time and looked good when given the opportunity, despite their inability to tie the game late. Meanwhile Erik Cole's role continues to fluctuate and he's seen his linemates change constantly. Might he get a shot with the Benn line if things continue to fizzle?
From Stars PR, "Defenseman ALEX GOLIGOSKI notched two assists in tonight's contest for his fourth multi-point game of the season. GOLIGOSKI'S 18 assists this year are tied for the most on the Stars."
So say what you will about Goligoski, but he is racking up those helpers this year despite the struggles otherwise at times.
As mentioned above, Kari Lehtonen figures to start in goal again tonight as it's really do or die time moving forward.
Anaheim sits very comfortably at 23-7-5 on the season, yet have lost five of their last six coming in, including a 2-1 OT loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena last night.
The Ducks have seen their dominant offense falter in recent weeks as they've scored just six total goals in their last eight games, and they have only one power play tally in their last eleven contests.
If anyone's due for a little offensive explosion, it's them - Dallas just hopes it isn't tonight.
Emerson Etem managed the tying goal for the Ducks (23-7-5) nearly six minutes into the third period but this was after more failure on a bone-dry power play and a so-so first two periods following another emotional triumph over Chicago.
The third was a source of frustration as the Ducks had a 17-1 shot advantage but ultimately dropped to 1-4-1 in their past six games when Mark Letestu scored four minutes into the extra five-minute session.
"You obviously don't like the result," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'm frustrated when you do play well. You keep pushing and pushing and we're missing opportunities. And you can tell we got good chances.
"But we're missing opportunities that guys shouldn't be missing. They're right in front of the net."
Possible line combos for Anaheim...