Preview: Ducks hunted by Stars
(Photo courtesy of zimbio.com) The Dallas Stars finally return home to American Airlines Center after winning two out of a possible three on the road. The Stars seem to be surging of late, however both road wins were a one goal games, with one game requiring overtime to finish. But it now seems this Dallas Stars team is starting to somewhat gel together as a group of veterans and young guns, even though there has been some line juggling and even unexpected player scratches.
The Anaheim Ducks fly into this game riding a four game win streak, which one of those victories came against the San Jose Sharks who are currently second in Pacific Division, and fourth in the entire NHL. Looking at this Ducks team it's hard to find any weakness other than maybe their penalty kill (72.7%), while the Stars rank (83.3%). The players who are leading these high powered Ducks are Koivu, Selanne, Getzlaf, Winnik, Ryan, and even a familiar name to Stars fans Sheldon Souray, who played last year with Dallas. Just like the Stars with Lehtonen, goaltending has been the backbone to this Ducks team, for Anaheim it sounds like Viktor Fasth (4-0)(.98%GAA) will get the start, Fasth was named "Goaltender of the Year" in the Swedish Elite League in 2012.
Once again Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr have lead the way for the Stars as of late, however for Dallas to continue to have success more players/lines are going to have to contribute offensively. I will say for Dallas players like Ryder, Eakin, and Eriksson have stepped up, as well as Derek Roy getting his first goal as a Dallas Star in Edmonton. The Dallas Stars' defense has improved recently, even with the sudden changes in defensemen pairings. Just like the Stars previous opponent the Oilers, Anaheim is also deadly on the power play, which translates to not taking unnecessary penalties against them. Another bonus for the Stars in this game, no Lubomir Visnovsky, he was notorious for big goals against Dallas in the past, fortunately he is currently with the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference. One final note on the age factor, Jagr and Whitney both 40 years old, Teemu Selanne for Anaheim is 42 years old, yet all of these guys are still playing at a high level, maybe age is just a number? (In case you forgot why no Visnovsky is good for Dallas, see the video below from 2011).