Game Preview: Dallas Stars @ Anaheim Ducks (9:30pm CST)
The final road outing of 2014-2015 sees the Dallas Stars' first and last visit to Anaheim on NBCSN.
The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks have had some special April moments over the years.
This probably won't be one of them.
Dallas is relegated to playing out the string now despite a superb effort in San Jose where they walloped the woebegone Sharks 5-1 on the strength of Jamie Benn and a good night from Jhonas Enroth, but a win by the Winnipeg Jets knocked them from playoff contention.
They still want to finish strong- But rather than something to look forward to for motivation they may want to look back a calendar year on this night, and perhaps channel some of that game-six frustration Anaheim's way.
Besides, wasn't ruining the Sharks' last home game fun? Why not do it again against two of the most reprehensible human beings in hockey? You know the ones I mean.
Anaheim trounced their awful division and have ten-point lead on the Pacific's second-place Vancouver Canucks, who have not yet technically claimed a playoff spot as of 10:20pm Tuesday night. Looks like they may as I type this as the Kings are in a world of hurt if they lose to the Oilers.
So the division is sewn-up. They cannot win the President's trophy (New York claimed that last night). They are motivated, however, to hold on to that #1 seed for the second year in a row and claim the right to play Winnipeg, Los Angeles or Calgary.
No doubt who they'd prefer to avoid. They'll finish the year with the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
A win tonight would actually tie the Stars, who will not make the playoffs, with the #1 seed in the West, at 24 wins on the road this season. Think about that. Incidentally, the Stars won 17 games on the road last year and qualified for post-season play. This season- 23 and counting.
Something to think about while visiting Honda Center, where the Ducks have used home-ice to its proper advantage with a 26-11-3 record. For reference see the Stars at 16-16-8.
The Duck lineup:
A year ago I wrote in this space about Jonas Hiller. The Duck netminder was having consistency problems. He was having trouble keeping a tight grip on his starting job. The Ducks needed an answer- like another franchise you know that's had a troubling season in that department.
The difference, and the reason why the Ducks are sitting 20 points to the better? They had not one, but two young goaltenders forcing their way up underneath in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. They've both enjoyed extended periods of success this season. Quite a luxury.
For the Stars, Jhonas Enroth is actually on a bit of a roll, so it will be interesting to see how the Stars choose to play things with Kari Lehtonen headed into what's going to be a pretty long summer for him.
You can enjoy this tonight on NBC Sports Network, provided you pause your DVR for a few seconds and get 1310am or 96.7 The Ticket up and running. Enjoyment otherwise cannot be ensured. It's a 9:30 faceoff for Dallas' only trip to Anaheim this season, and an early morning tomorrow.
Come spend it here with us in the gameday thread.
From Stars PR:
The Stars travel to Anaheim on Wednesday night to face off against the Ducks in the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. Dallas is 0-1-1 so far this season against the Ducks, but comes into Wednesday's tilt having earned points in six of its last nine trips to Anaheim (5-3-1). Defenseman Trevor Daley currently paces the Stars with two points (0-2=2) against the Ducks this season. Daley has tallied points in four consecutive games against Anaheim (1-3=4) and has 16 career points (4-12=16) in team-high 58 games against them.
Dallas wraps up its 2014-15 road schedule on Wednesday night as the team will square off against the Ducks at Honda Center. The Stars posted wins in the first two games of the road trip and have now earned wins in seven of their last eight games away from home. Dallas has gone 25-for-28 (89.3%) on the penalty kill and 9-for-32 (28.1%) on the power play over its last eight road contests, while the club currently ranks fourth in the NHL with a road power play percentage of 23.0% (29-for-126). Stars captain Jamie Benn currently shares fourth in the League with 40 points (18-22=40) on the road, while forward Tyler Seguin is tied for ninth with 17 road goals this season.