On Saturday night the Anaheim Ducks scored four goals on only 25 shots but gave up 41 shots to the Red Wings. Sound familiar? The Dallas Stars and their Orange County rivals share some significant (foreboding) similarities early this year and it figures to be a shot-fest full of interesting penalty killing tonight when they drop the puck at 8:00pm CDT on Fox Sports Southwest.
These teams allow the 29th and 30th most shots in the league and have discomforting shot differentials because of it but the similarities, luckily, don't extend all the way to their records. The Stars are a strong 5-2-0 on the young season while the Ducks 3-5-1 mark matches their nine game start last season.
This is the last game of a four part trip for the Ducks. They played strong games in Philadelphia (a 3-2 win) and in Detroit (lost 5-4 on a last second goal) but dropped the opener in Columbus 3-1. They're 3-2-1 in their last six, so they pull points out of games more often than not lately.
Dallas went 4-1-1 against Anaheim last year including three wins at the AAC. (Including a rather famous shootout victory in April.)
Anaheim had a scheduled day off replaced with a hard practice here in Farmers Branch on Sunday. Randy Carlyle and his weird hair-line were not pleased with the way their team finished the game. The Ducks will be a focused, motivated group tonight. Don't sleep on them.
More after the jump...
Dallas has spent the last couple of days reportedly working on the power play. A good thing to do when the Ducks are coming to town as they surrender quite a few PP chances per game.
On the other side, the Stars have not allowed a PP goal by the opposition in two straight games. A lot of that owes to the fact that they have not been in the box much (only twice against the Predators.)
Kari Lehtonen will get his eighth consecutive start in goal tonight. He has allowed only a single goal in consecutive games, which is huge for him and this defense as a group.
I am not going to make it morning skate today but we'll find out from ESPN and the DMN a little later if Fistric is back in on defense and who wins the healthy scratch derby between Barch and Sutherby. Lines will look something like this:
Wandell-Benn-Ott (you can rotate these guys in any of these positions. Benn has been playing some wing lately)
There are no injuries for Dallas. I love typing that. Please note the late start time of 8:00pm.
Here's an ironic bit from the Ducks post-game on Saturday via NHL.com...
"That guy is dangerous out there," Selanne said. "One of these days somebody's going to get him, for sure. I know that. It's just a matter of time when. For sure his elbow hit in my face. I didn't see the replay but I know how it felt."
So for all the complaining the Wings and Kronwall did about Fistric's hit in the home opener, Kronwall turns around and does the exact same thing to someone else. That's hockey for you. Back to the Ducks...
In goal tonight should be Jonas Hiller and his imaginative, playful mask design. Hiller started the season 2-4-1 and was granted a rest as one of the Stars favorite punching bags last year, Curtis McElhinney, was given two games and was spectacular in each, they say. Too bad. The Stars had some fun with McElhinney last season and I just love trying to spell his last name.
Cam Fowler will not play tonight, so the draft criticizers will have to wait to get their "See!!! we should have taken him!!!" in until next time.
Anaheim will be without forwards Lupul and Dan Sexton. Sexton, you'll remember, torched the Stars in Anaheim in December.