The Anaheim Ducks are a better team that their record suggests.
They were a game away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in the spring. They have two of the best, if petulant, talents in the league in Perry and Getzlaf. They are going to figure it out eventually in a weak Pacific Division after a 1-5-2 start.
They almost figured it out tonight. Almost.
The Dallas Stars were struck squarely in the jaw Tuesday night after watching a horrific five minute span in which Santorelli, Hagelin, and Shawn Horcoff (of all people) powered those beleaguered Ducks to a 3-0 lead to end the first period.
The Ducks had not scored in 144 minutes. They had been stopped on 82 of their last 83 shots on net. They were coming off a 39 shot performance in Chicago a night ago that ended in overtime defeat.
They were due, we said. And that came to fruition, but then the Stars shut them down.
Dallas was not ready to start this game in the first and managed just six shots on Frederik Andersen's net in the opening frame. When Jamie Benn took a hooking minor to start the second it looked like they might never get their game going.
Patrick Sharp and the power play got things started seven minutes into the second, finally, and that sparked a massive Stars run in puck possession and pucks on net, as the Stars would rocket to 28 second and third period shots, out-shooting Anaheim 17-2 in the final frame.
Special teams were the key in the comeback bid as Cody Eakin scored a goal on a nice feed from his captain at 15:27 of the second, and then John Klingberg tapped a puck home to tie things after a nice find by Tyler Seguin.
3-3 after two, and all Stars all the time after that as they never looked back once they finally found their legs - and lost the mental flatulence of the first.
The Stars onslaught at Frederik was capped on a rush by Vern Fiddler and Antoine Roussel as the former's bid created a rebound that the latter tapped home to give the Stars their first lead of the night with about 90 seconds remaining.
Anaheim looked content to play for overtime as their forecheck become non-existent in the late stages of the third, but the Stars caught them in transition to put yet another regulation win on their ledger.
Their record stands at 7-2-0, and their resolve stands a little firmer after nearly following their ugly loss to the Panthers with something that looked even more-so after about 25 minutes tonight. The longer they can avoid their first losing streak the better, and the competition gets much stiffer in the coming days.
Ruff put the lines in the blender after the slow start, moving Eakin up with Seguin and Benn, putting Hemsky with Faksa and Sceviour at times, and Patrick Sharp played with Spezza in some of the latter stages. So we'll see what happens with the lines on Thursday.
It was a tremendous comeback tonight, though coming back down 3-0 against a Duck team that doesn't have Getzlaf is not where you want to find yourself.
They'll try for a better start, same result, on Thursday - and we'll have more on this one here at DBD.
Stars win again!