Adventure follows the Dallas Stars to the Staples Center. It always has.
Last night was no exception as the Stars scored a series of unlikely tallies, each stranger than the next, even as Kari Lehtonen allowed long range shot after long range shot to find the twine behind his very nearly present person.
Lindy Ruff did not appear to be amused on that front as things wore on, eventually bringing in Antti Niemi in relief after the fourth Kings' goal. Luckily for Dallas they were, at least for one night, able to out-score their mistakes- Managing six including the empty-netter.
It was the first time in a month they found their way past four goals, and it was not without its absolutely abhorrent stretches in the first and second where the Kings just dominated play.
Two points are just that, however, and the Stars would like to double-down tonight and perhaps build a pivot for their season in Southern California.
It's the season finale against the hated Anaheim Ducks @ Honda Center tonight as Dallas takes a weirdly and surprisingly emotional win over the Kings into this used-to-be-but-isn't pseudo divisional rivalry contest.
Back to backs have been few and far between thus far but nevertheless cruel to the Stars this season as they've dropped three out of their first four attempts (1-2-1), the latest the mid-December debacle in Chicago after the collapse in Philadelphia.
The Ducks are the only other Western Conference team with the futility beyond 60 minutes to match Dallas', collecting eight loser points already like our heroes, and if you believe that there's a winner and a loser and nothing in between, make them 21-21 on the year.
The L.A. Times reminds us that the brothers Ritchie square off for a third time tonight-
Outcomes aside, Nick said it has been special to share the NHL dream with his brother. They’ve sometimes lined up opposite each other on faceoffs
“That was a cool experience, and probably really cool for my parents watching the game,” Nick said of Paul and Tammy.
“They don’t know who to cheer for. I guess they’re just cheering for both of us. It’s a unique thing and I’m sure they like it and they’ll be watching the one [Tuesday] night, for sure.”
Nick, 21, is enjoying a breakout season with nine goals through 40 games. He has found chemistry with Antoine Vermette and Ondrej Kase on the third line, and showed the scoring instincts that were expected of him after he was more of a grinding, hard-nosed wing in his 33-game debut last season. Two of his goals are game-winners. [L.A. Times]
Brett Ritchie's got bragging rights no matter what, with the Stars already having won two of the three matchups.
The Ducks' lineup:
- John Gibson
- Jonathan Bernier
Ryan Getzlaf seems likely to return. He skated both days before their last outing on Sunday and was close, but didn't play. I am betting he'll be back tonight.
One player we don't anticipate being back tonight is Kari Lehtonen, the recipient of a noticeable bit of attention from one Mister Lindy Ruff Monday night ahead of his eventual... relief.
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks meet Tuesday night on the second night of a back-to-back for the third and final meeting of the 2016-17 regular season. The Stars are a perfect 2-0-0 against the Ducks this season, with both wins occurring on home ice at American Airlines Center. In the most recent game on Dec. 13 in Dallas, the Stars defeated the Ducks, 6-2. Captain Jamie Benn led all players with three points (1-2=3) with defenseman Jordie Benn (0-2=2) and forward Tyler Seguin (0-2=2) each adding multi-point games. Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 34-of-36 shots faced on the evening to record his second win against the Ducks this season (2-0-0). In his two starts this season against Anaheim, Niemi has stopped 67-of-71 shots with a .944 save percentage and 2.02 goals against average. The native of Vantaa, Finland has a 17-10-1 career record against the Ducks with a .912 SV% and 2.47 GAA. His 17 wins against the Ducks are the most he's recorded against any NHL opponent.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE KLING
Defenseman John Klingberg lit the lamp against St. Louis on Saturday (1-1=2) and has a two-game goal streak (2-0=2), along with eight points (3-5=8) over his last eight games. His goal against the Blues on Saturday secured his first goal streak since Feb. 9 - 11, 2016 (2-1=3). Additionally, Klingberg has posted multi-point games in consecutive contests for the first time since Nov. 12 - Nov. 14, 2015 (2-3=5). The blueliner leads all Stars defensemen and ranks fifth on the club with 22 points (5-17=22) in 38 games this season. Klingberg ranks first on Dallas with 23:02 time on ice per game and shares third on the club with 17 assists. The native of Gothenburg, Sweden has two points (1-1=2) in seven career games against the Ducks.