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Preview: Anaheim Ducks @ Dallas Stars

7:30pm CST on Fox Spoooooorts Southwest tonight. Or come on down to the AAC.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacific division's first place team meets the Central's sixth best tonight as the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars square off at American Airlines Center.

The Stars doubled up the Ducks on opening night thanks to an Antoine Roussel game-winner and an empty net goal from Adam Cracknell- All that despite a 35-20 shot advantage in favor of the visitors that was a portent of things to come.

Anaheim, to the end, enters with 35 points atop the Pacific and a top-ten offense. The Stars, those 20 shots predicted, considerably worse off. Particularly after this weekend's quick jaunt to Philadelphia and Chicago which saw their point total stagnate and their win-percentage drop to .367.

The other 63% of the time you've seen losses, Stars fans. This you know. If there's a silver lining it's at home, where there's seven wins to six losses. Those are the best odds you can get right now.

The narratives are many. The theorizing endless. There are, after all, a variety of menu options from which to choose-

The top-end talent, as a whole, is not producing to last year's tune. The defense is subject to significant change from game-to-game, not to mention the change from last season to this one. The team isn't scoring. It's the inverse of expectations heading into the season. "Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending." That's not the issue.

Stars brass and players echoes as much after the Chicago loss. Jason Spezza mentioned the "hole" from which they now must climb. The Captain said the best players are "not our best players." Ruff mentioned the defensive mistakes, noting that they could get past them last season.

Because they could score. This season, through 30 games, they sit 19th in the league in goals per game and 17th in shots per game. The deodorant that was a league-best offense is missed- See the two Devin Shore goals in Philly and the on Devin Shore goal in Chicago.

Devin Shore was leading by example- But that statement speaks volumes.

The Stars were off Monday, so updates are scarce. They'll continue to experience change as players like Hudler and Oduya work their way back off extensive absences.

The Duck have been good on the road, earning points in 9 of their 14 away games this season (5-5-4). They've earned points in eight of their last ten overall. They've scored just six more times than have the Stars, but have allowed 21 fewer against.

The differences are many- The most glaring concern arrives on the Stars' doorstep in the most inopportune of times, of course. That would be in the area of special teams. The Ducks have a top-three power play in the league at over 23%, and 30 of their 80 goals this season have come at a strength other than 5-on-5.

Their latest foray into that which haunts Dallas most right now? A three power play goal night against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday at home, in just four opportunities, propelling them to a 5-1 win and a three-game streak coming into a head-to-head matchup with a team that's not won three in a row since

Their lineup-

  • Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry
  • Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg
  • Ritchie-Vermette-Kase
  • Cramarossa-Noesen-Shaw

  • Fowler-Vatanen
  • Lindholm-Manson
  • Theadore-Bieksa

John Gibson and Jonathan Bernier man the Anaheim net.

From Stars PR:

DUCK TALES

The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks meet on Tuesday night for the second of three games during the 2016-17 regular season. Tuesday night also marks the beginning of a five-game homestand for the Stars, which includes games against the New York Rangers (Dec. 15), Philadelphia Flyers (Dec. 17), St. Louis Blues (Dec. 20) and Los Angeles Kings (Dec. 23). In the first meeting of the season on Oct. 13, the Stars defeated the Ducks, 4-2, at American Airlines Center. Forwards Antoine Roussel (1-1=2) and Adam Cracknell (1-1=2) each registered multi-point outings, with defenseman Stephen Johns (1-0=1) and forward Lauri Korpikoski (1-0=1) each adding goals for the Stars. Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 33-of-35 shots faced to lead Dallas to the victory in the club's first game of the 2016-17 season.

IT'S A SHORE THING

Forward Devin Shore potted a goal (1-0=1) on Sunday against the Blackhawks and now has goals in a career-best two consecutive games (3-0=3). His two-game point streak ties the longest of his NHL career, which he has achieved three times this season (last: Dec. 1 - 3). Shore potted a career-high two goals (2-0=2) on Saturday in Philadelphia and tied his career-best for points in a game (2). Shore currently is tied for 11th among all NHL rookies with 13 points (5-8=13) so far this season, while he's tied for eighth among all first-year players in goals (5) and shares 11th in assists (8). The native of Ajax, Ont. shares sixth on the Stars in assists (8) and ranks seventh in points (13). Originally selected by Dallas in the second round (61st overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, Shore made his NHL debut last season, and has posted 13 points (5-8=13) in 33 NHL contests. In one career game against the Anaheim Ducks, he has recorded one assist (0-1=1) and one shot.

THE MACK ATTACK

Forward Curtis McKenzie recorded an assist (0-1=1) against the Blackhawks on Sunday and now has a two-game assist streak (0-2=2), the first assist streak of NHL career. Additionally, the forward now has points in four of his last five games (2-2=4). McKenzie has tallied two of his three career point streaks during the 2016-17 campaign, with the first point streak occurring when he recorded his first career NHL goal streak (2-0=2) from Dec. 3 - 6. In 21 games this season, the forward has seven points (3-4=7) and shares first on the club with a +4 plus/minus rating. With seven points so far this season, McKenzie has set a new career-high for points in a single campaign, besting his five points (4-1=5) recorded in 36 games in 2014-15. Originally selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, he has skated in 60 career NHL contests and has totaled 12 points (7-5=12).