The Dallas Stars have made headlines early this season, achieving the hot start they've publicly sought, scoring goals, and occupying the top spot in the West at times.
All with the Edmonton Oilers as their lone Western Conference win after a diet of East fed to them by the schedule makers. The escalation in competition against the league's much better half begins tonight as they enter a three-game home stand against these Ducks, Canucks and Sharks.
Dallas dropped two of three to the Ducks last season, managing just a single goal in each of the losing efforts before a 4-0 win against them in Anaheim in the season's garbage time just prior to the playoffs.
Anaheim's results speak for themselves over the last 7-8 years, and though they may start slow sometimes they usually end-up like the San Antonio Spurs in their ability to scratch their way to the top no matter the circumstances.
That might prove more difficult than usual, however - they're 1-5-2 to start the year gather three points in their first eight games. And they played an overtime game at Chicago last night, dropping a 1-0 decision to a Jonathan Toews game winner.
The puck drops tonight at about 7:37pm n Fox Sports Southwest.
Jason Demers will serve the second and final game of his suspension here tonight, and Lindy Ruff said that Jyrki Jokipakka would likely find his way back into the lineup - meaning one of either Jamie Oleksiak or Patrik Nemeth would come back out. Stay tuned after morning skate to learn more exciting details on that development, but clearly the sooner they can put the group from the five game winning streak back together the better.
Ales Hemsky missed practice with a maintenance day but should be ready to go this evening. Curtis McKenzie is off crutches but still a ways out, and Patrick Eaves has not made much progress yet according to local media.
So the beat goes on for the forward group, and Travis Moen could re-join sometime next week:
The defensive pairings, we'll wait for. More interesting still could be what happens in net. Kari Lehtonen was handed the baton despite electric starts from Antti Niemi, but instead of keeping the two-headed goalie monster's momentum rolling he allowed too many in Ruff's estimation, getting pulled in favor of Niemi.
Who gets the start this evening is anyone's guess.
The Ducks have a low shooting percentage, low save percentage, few points, few scoring chances and even fewer goals.
As the graph below demonstrates, they have not played what they would consider to be particularly well, and they have been unlucky at best.
Scoring Chances vs PDO through the weekend. Colorado has no excuses. pic.twitter.com/vBMekPRJwv— Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) October 26, 2015
They don't score. Not yet. They've scored once in their last 82 shots. They've scored one power play goal this season in 22 man-advantages. They were shutout despite 39 shots in Chicago last night. They were shutout despite 37 shots against Phoenix at home.
With their pedigree, they are the epitome of "due." They're getting their shots on net, and the Stars will need to be very wary of a desperate group here tonight- After all, it's the Ducks. At the American Airlines Center. What could go wrong?
Their lineup, or something like it:
They still boast Getzlaf and Perry on that top unit, and after watching Jaromir Jagr's top line for Florida on Saturday the Stars will want to make sure there are no repeat performances in front of the home crowd.
That's Shawn Horcoff on the team's fourth line- He's recorded one assist on the season (meaning he's been involved in over 12% of their offense to date) and generally sees about nine minutes a night so far with a -1 rating and 6 PIM.
From Stars PR:
EVERYDAY THEY'RE OUT THERE MAKING DUCK TALES...WOO-OO!
The Dallas Stars take on the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday at American Airlines Center in the second game of Dallas' current four-game homestand. The Stars had their five-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night with a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. Dallas comes into Tuesday's contest having posted a 5-2-2 record in its last seven home meetings with Anaheim and boasting points in 12 of its last 15 home games against them. Stars newcomer Patrick Sharp paces all current Stars with 29 points (14-15=29) over 30 career games against Anaheim. Sharp matched a career-high with four points (0-4=4) in his last game against the Ducks on Jan. 30, 2015 while with Chicago, and has points (0-5=5) in two of his last three games against them.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied two goals (2-0=2) against Florida Saturday night and now leads the NHL with eight goals this season, while he shares first in the League and on the Stars with 12 points (8-4=12). Benn registered three points (0-3=3) in three games against the Ducks last season and has a total of 19 career points (5-14=19) in 27 total matchups against them. Earlier this season the Victoria, B.C. native became the first player in Dallas Stars history (since 1993-94) to record points in each of the team's first six games of the season and is the first in franchise history to do so since Brian Bellows recorded points (8-4=12) in seven-straight games to start the 1989-90 campaign.