The Stars meet the Ducks tonight for their final game in Anaheim this season. It's been almost four months since the Stars were in Orange County and got Dan Sextoned out of a 3-1 third period lead into an eventual 4-3 overtime loss. The good news is that even with that blemish, the Stars have earned points in all four games against the Ducks this season going 3-0-1 against them. Their most recent run-in was Loui Eriksson's romp on New Years Eve. The winger scored his first and only hat trick of the season, and could have had a few more easily if I'm remembering correctly.
This 5th of 6th meetings between the two clubs comes without any playoff implications whatsoever. The only competition they share at this point is in the draft lottery, and I'm sorry to say that the Ducks would be winning that contest. Dallas sits 2 points ahead of Anaheim currently. One can only hope that divisional rivalry is enough to spark them to do meaningful battle in southern California tonight.
This is Dallas' first meeting with a non-playoff team since March 4th against St. Louis. They've since played 12 playoff teams in 22 days. 5 of their remaining 7 games are against non-playoff bound opponents. Too little too late for the "strength of schedule" help, which is not to say that they're easier games by any stretch of the imagination.
Follow the jump for starting net minders, injuries and more...
Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal for Marc Crawford tonight. His strong start in Los Angeles coupled with his robbery in Nashville on Tuesday equals the best stretch of hockey we've see yet from the big Finn, and possibly the best he's shown in well over a year. He stopped 29 of 30 in both outings (58 of 60) for a GAA average of 1.00 and a save percentage of (.9667%).
With this 2 goals and assist on Saturday, Brad Richards took over the power play points lead (38) in the league over Stamkos (37).
Expect lines to once against start the same:
Benn Watch: Jamie Benn is 20 years old and is looking for his 20th goal on the year tonight. He has not scored against Anaheim this season. The DMN has a good story on him here.
Visit SB Nation friend Anaheim Calling for all things Ducks, including a quick recap of their last outing:
With the Ducks out of the playoff picture, Getzlaf and Hiller got the night off, and Nick Bonino and Curtis McElhinney got the nod. Both players impressed, McElhinney by recovering from multiple knees to the face and Bonino in split time on the top line. Edmonton attempted to muscle their way back into the game, taking multiple runs at McElhinney, but Sheldon Brookbank responded in kind. Ultimately, Anaheim was able to pull out a win on the back of two Corey Perry power play tallies and a George Parros goal. Ducks win.
A comeback win against the Oilers. Sounds like the Ducks are in the same place that Dallas is.
Also, check out of the OC Register for stories like this on Teemu Selanne:
But there are times when it's easy to see why Selanne would not want to go through the rigors of another long season, now his 18th in the NHL and one in which he would be playing at 40 years of age.
Case in point: Two periods later in that same game, Selanne was rushing toward the net again to get a backdoor pass from Koivu but lost his balance and slammed into the end boards. The resulting sprained left shoulder kept him out only one game, but it came after two other significant injuries he has dealt with this season.
"Oh, for sure, it's going to be a big question," Selanne said, wearing a wry smile. "In many ways, I almost think the hockey god is giving me messages that it's time to do something else."
Dallas: Modano (appendix) is out until Friday. Wandell (knee) and Barch (laceration, lower body) are out for the season.
Anaheim: Getzlaf (ankle) is questionable. Joffrey Lupul is out (back).