The Stars (3-5-0) finished their first road trip to California this season empty-handed after falling 6-3 to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. The Ducks (7-1-0) set a franchise record with their seventh consecutive win.
Rookie goaltender Jack Campbell made his NHL debut for the Stars on Sunday. Despite a tremendous 41 save performance, the Stars couldn't find a way to rally around him.
“It’s frustrating. We wanted to be better for him,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “It’s his first NHL game, but for us with how we played last night we wanted to rebound. He played a great game. Those are some of the best players in the world out there with (Corey) Perry and (Ryan) Getzlaf, two highly skilled players and they played well. We kind of left him out to dry.”
"It's my favorite; a big challenge. I was really happy I got to play against Anaheim," said Campbell. "I just wish I could have played a little better and helped the team win. But it was a lot of fun, and it's great to play against some of the best players in the game on Anaheim."
Giving up a total of 47 shots in the game, the entire defensive showing was suspect, to say the least. Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski finished with a minus-three in the game and is now minus-ten on the season.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff indicated he could make some mild changes with the Stars defensive groupings for Sunday’s game. Rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton caught a skate in the pregame warm-ups, but Ruff would eventually to stick with the same starting six defensemen he has used all season. Connauton has yet to make his Dallas Stars debut.
Ruff decided to keep the Stars top unit featuring Brenden Dillon and Stephane Robidas intact. Although, he moved Trevor Daley with Alex Goligoski and Jordie Benn partnered with Sergei Gonchar.
In the opening frame, Anaheim was handed the first power play early when Ryan Garbutt was called for kneeing. Teemu Selanne received a pass from Ryan Getzlaf and beat Campbell from point blank range just 59 seconds into the power play, giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
Campbell came up with a couple of big saves to keep the Stars within a goal. He'd go on to stop 12 of 13 shots in the first period, aiding the Stars to a 3-1 lead with goals by Ryan Garbutt, Brenden Dillon, and Shawn Horcoff.
Valeri Nichushkin earned the primary assist on Dillon's goal, marking the rookies first career NHL point.
Horcoff's goal in the first marks his 163rd of his career and first as a Dallas Star.
The Ducks would go on to make a goaltending change to start the second, putting Frederik Andersen in for Hiller. Anaheim then would score just 54 seconds into the period to cut the Stars’ lead to 3-2. Perry deflected a centered pass from Getzlaf and snuck past Campbell.
Just a little under eight minutes after Campbell stopped all seven of Anaheim's third power play opportunities to preserve the Stars lead, the Ducks went on their fourth power play of the game and scored to tie the game at 3-3. Cam Fowler's point shot beat Campbell after Perry's deflection in front of the net.
“Our lack of discipline hurt us again on a couple of calls,” said Ruff. “If you are going to go on the road, lead a game 3-1 and take some of the penalties that we took, then you are inviting trouble. That was disappointing.”
The Stars were given a chance on the power play with 2:08 left in the second, but the Ducks scored shorthanded to take a 4-3 lead. Andrew Cogliano's centering pass to the net was deflected by Emerson Etem past Campbell.
“That was a pretty tough period for us. I don’t think we competed as hard as we could have,” Garbutt said. “It was frustrating. After getting a 3-1 lead in the first we had to keep that up in the second, and we definitely didn’t do that.”
Ducks forward Dustin Penner left the game in the second period after he was hit high by Stars forward Ryan Garbutt. Penner, who was down on the ice for a while, had to be helped to the dressing room and did not return.
"It was tough seeing him groggy getting up," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "You always worry about your players when they’re knocked out, or close to being knocked out, but he seems fine."
There was no penalty on the play. Garbutt was asked about the hit after the game, but had little to say.
“I haven’t seen the hit,” he said.
Down 4-3, the Stars had a power play chance early in the third, but couldn’t take advantage. Anaheim extended their lead to 5-3 when Getzlaf scored off the rush at the 4:26 mark of the third period. Mathieu Perrault deflected in an Etem shot at the 15:12 mark to round out the scoring in the game.
Captain Jamie Benn dropped the gloves with Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin late in the game. Beauchemin had flattened Stars center Vernon Fiddler earlier in the period with a big open-ice hit. Antoine Roussel’s fight streak ended at two games.
Dillon (22:54) and Robidas (21:31) led the Stars in ice time for the game.
The loss was the fifth of the season and fourth in the last five games for Dallas. The Stars take three days off before returning home to play the Calgary Flames at the American Airlines Center on Thursday, Oct. 24.