This is it. The final day of previewing the upcoming series between the Stars and Ducks. After today it will be a concrete entity and we can move on to analysis of a Dallas Stars playoff game that actually happened. Until then though, we shall continue to preview to our heart's content.
So who are these Ducks that everyone has been speaking of this past week? We know that they reside in Southern California, and that they used to be Mighty, but beyond that?
Beyond that we know that they have a shaky goaltender situation. That's right, Jonas Hiller, you know, the Olympian and standout for the Swiss Team, is right now the least likely of Anaheim's three goaltenders to start the series tonight. He'll be replaced by Frederik Andersen or John Gibson. You'll be forgiven for not knowing either of those names, as I just made them up. Conversely, the Stars have a goaltender ready to make his mark on the playoffs, as Kari looks to carry us home.
Beyond that we also know that the Ducks have a dynamic duo that could perhaps rival Dallas' own BennGuin. In fact, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf both ranked in the top 5 in league scoring. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were only in the top 10. Perry and Getzlaf though played in the Pacific Division, rather than the Central. *cough* inflated stats *cough*
And then we also know that the Ducks stole away one of Dallas' most beloved defensemen. 'Traded to a contender,' they said. Jury's still out Stephane. But is it crazy to say, after all the early-season concerns about the Stars defense and what would happen after Robi was injured, is it crazy to say that as it stands, defense between these two teams is a push? Does one team really have the edge? Or shall we just buckle in for a high-scoring series?
And lastly, we know that no Duck can hang with Antoine Roussel or Ryan Garbutt when things get rough.
Let's continue to break it down though shall we? Mike Heika has his head-to-head breakdown of the series. As does Mark Stepneski at Stars Inside Edge. Wait, there's more. USA Today picks the Stars for an upset. As does Justin Bourne. Apparently it's the "sexy" thing to do.
If that's not enough reading material to get you through this Longest Day, don't fret. There's more.
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For those of you who weren't Seattle Thunderbirds fans in 2011 and 2012, as I was, Branden Troock is a forward drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2012. He's been playing in the WHL in Seattle for 4 years, and yesterday signed a three-year entry-level contract with Dallas. [Sports Day DFW]
These are always interesting. How the Ducks and Stars rosters were built: draft, trade, and free agency. [Stars Inside Edge]
This one's for BayouBoy. Kari Lehtonen, standing tall when it counted. [Razor with an Edge]
10 things to know about the Ducks. In photo format. [Sports Day DFW]
In case you were worried about the Blackhawks chances against the Blues, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are both back in the lineup. Phew. [Daily Herald]
A lot more than 30 Thoughts, from CBC. Jamie Benn as a Canuck? *shudder* [CBC]
The Florida Panthers scored the number one draft pick in this year's draft. Poor Buffalo... they couldn't even win that. [NHL.com]
Expansion talk? There are those who think Canada could support an additional three teams. Maybe that might mean more than one Canadian team would qualify for the playoffs next time around. [Ottawa Citizen]
NHL Network said it, so it must be true! Tyler Seguin will be the primary reason the Stars will win the Cup! Along with Jamie Benn and Kari Lehtonen. And Sergei Gonchar and Ray Whitney?