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Dallas Drops Decision Against Ducks

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With the chance to sweep the Ducks for the season, the Stars . . . didn’t.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The western road trip continues as the Dallas Stars visit California and the Anaheim Ducks for their second of four away from home ice and the American Airlines Center.

This is the third of three games against the Ducks this season and the only one played in the Honda Center. The Stars have won the previous two outings with scores of 5-3 and 5-2, chasing John Gibson out of the goal in favor of Ryan Miller in the first of those games.

Lest you get too excited about the probable outcome of this game, the Stars have lost the last five games in Anaheim, a number that has unfortunately climbed to six games. What is it about the Honda Center?

Some interesting things done with the lines tonight as Jim Montgomery played Valeri Nichushkin up on the top line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov with Jamie Benn on the second line with Martin Hanzal and Jason Spezza.

First period

The first period was, let’s say, not good. The Stars were out shot 14-5, yes, 5. The Stars were out skated and outplayed through much of the period.

It didn’t start bad though. The Stars had some good pressure at the top of the period, especially a door step chance for Joel Hanley that he just couldn’t control. But the end result of that was Gavin Bayreuther behind the Stars net, making a centering pass to Ondrej Kase, who was not wearing victory green.

Ben Bishop wasn’t expecting the shot, with the Stars in possession, and Kase had no problem beating him.

The Stars had a power play opportunity when Mattias Janmark got tripped by Jake Dotchin on a two man rush but the Stars weren’t able to make anything of the man advantage as the Ducks held them to zero shots on goal.

And then this happened.

One wonders if Ben Bishop remembers he’s playing hockey, not football and that he’s a goalie, not whatever position snaps the ball back to the quarterback. Former NHL goalie Daryl Reaugh’s best guess is that Bishop was attempting to clear the puck to Blake Comeau coming down the center and that the puck got stuck on the top of his glove and elevated instead. Either way, almost lead to a goal against so here’s hoping he’s got better control in the second.

Second period

Prior to the game, a graphic on Fox Sports was kind enough to inform TV viewers that the Anaheim Ducks are in the top five in the NHL for goals allowed in the second period with 41 goals against. Spoilers, they can add three more to that total.

First up, Miro Heiskenan on a power play after Hampus Lindholm took a high sticking penalty against Tyler Seguin (no blood was drawn this time).

But the Stars weren’t done. Two minutes later, Blake Comeau scored on a breakaway and a feed from Devin Shore. Everything connected beautifully, Gibson cheated out to the top of the paint and no one had Comeau behind him.

Two minutes after that, Nick Ritchie (brother to Brett Ritchie who did not play this game), had a high sticking penalty against Taylor Fedun. A minute into that power play, Alexander Radulov did what Alexander Radulov does with a nice elevated writers that went in over Gibson’s shoulder.

Unfortunately for the Stars, Kase was able to get his second of the night after Joel Hanley went off for tripping him. The goal was not a power play goal, but it did come 13 seconds after the power play ended and again speaks to the Stars inability to pick play back up after a penalty kill ends, as those two goals did on Sunday night.

Still, a lot of positives in the second. The Ducks were held to zero shots on goal for 13 minutes while the Stars scored three times. The power line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov was reunited, though Seguin did again hit a post and not the back of the net. Still, Stars out shot the Ducks 13 to 7 in this frame and despite the late goal from the Ducks, held a lot of the momentum.

Third period

The Stars slowed down again in the third, perhaps perfectly content with their one goal lead. Despite some back and forth on both ends and even pressure from the Stars, a relentless pressure from the Ducks midway through the period resulted in Kase getting his third of the game.

After ice crew in Anaheim cleared the hats, the Ducks again ended up on Bishop’s door step but even with one of the Stars sitting on Bishop’s legs, the Ducks were not able to score on a wide open net. Which didn’t end up mattering at all as a minute later, Brandon Montour gave the Ducks the lead again.

Montour flipped the puck out of the Ducks zone, Andrew Cogliano got the puck to Jakob Silfverberg, and the puck went right into the net. It was immediately waved off by the refs who conferenced, said the call stood, then conferenced again, and announced there was no kicking motion and it was a good goal, putting the Ducks up 5-3 over the Stars.

That’s three goals in 2 minutes and 59 seconds.

Bishop was pulled with more than 4 minutes left in the game. But the Stars weren’t able to do anything with the extra man except let the Ducks score into the empty net.

Good news, Stars fans, the Stars are still in California tomorrow night for the second half of a back-to-back on the road, taking on the San Jose Sharks. Puck drop is at 9:30 PM CST so get your naps in early.