KNOW THY ENEMY
I'd like to think that going into the third game against them this week we know thine pretty well already, but....
Record (Points): 16-17-3 = 35 points
Place in Pacific Division: 5th place
Place in Western Conference: 13th place
Who's Hot? Alex Goligoski has been in on all but one of the Stars' goals in their last three games. The bad news for Dallas, he's only got three assists and they've lost all three of those games.
Who's Not? Kari Lehtonen has been lettin' in a lot of goals (sorry). The Ducks have had their troubles against him in the past, but have racked up nine in the two games against him this week. His D might be hanging him out to dry (see: Aaron Rome on Palmieri's goal Wednesday), but .897 and .846 Save Percentages on Monday and Wednesday respectively don't speak very highly of his ability to stop the puck.
Numbers for Nerds: MAGUMBO ALERT! I think it's the law that whenever the Ducks play Dallas somebody has to bring up Loui Eriksson: Murderer of Ducks. Here are some details on how good he is against us. In his career he has put up .775 points per game against the Ducks, while scoring .713 points/game against the other 28 teams. This season however, he's only scoring at a .625 P/G pace against the rest of the
league Western Conference (stupid lockout) but he's still at .750 versus the Ducks (1G, 2A in 4 Games).
I also did a LOT of (useless) background math to see how much playing only in the West this season is affecting his numbers. Over the last four years his pace versus Eastern Conference teams is .053 P/G better than vs. West. That is pretty close to the +.062 career point/game differential he has between the Ducks and the rest of the league. But, it doesn't account for his overall decline in production this year. He's currently on .639 P/G pace and hasn't been below .768 P/G since his breakout year of 2008-2009, and even that is a sharp drop off from the last three years.
Whoa! That took me waaaaaaay down the rabbit hole. Let's just say it will be nice to get him out of the division next year, when division games will actually mean something, but you already knew that.
Enemy Dossier: Defending Big D
Ever since the Ducks' epic win over Chicago at home, I've been of the belief that they don't have much to play for. Really it extends back before that, but that's when we saw it manifest itself in a four game losing streak. Tonight seems like another game where they can go through the motions, and bide their time until Sunday against Los Angeles and Monday against He Who Must Not Be Named.
That makes SK's suggestion of scratching Ryan Getzlaf all the more interesting. Obviously it gives his knee a little bit of extra rest, and it might even trick the other guys into stepping up their game just a bit instead of being lulled to sleep by a team who seems to be in tank-for-the-draft mode. Then again, it could just delay the let down until Getzlaf comes back, similar to the let down after Corey Perry came back from his four game suspension. So it's probably best to base the decision solely on the state of Getzy's knee.
As I've referenced a couple of times already, this will be the final game that the Ducks and Stars play as division rivals. The rivalry has calmed down significantly since Craig Ludwig's head shot on Teemu Selanne and Ruslan Salei almost paralysed Mike Modano, so there's not all that much to miss. As division opponents the Ducks have a record of 32-42-11 (6 ties + 5 OT/SO losses = 11) against Dallas, so let's hope they end it on a good note.
Update from Morning Skate (originally posted in SK's Group Therapy):
BB said Getzlaf is a game-time decision. It is captain's call on whether he wants to go or sit out a game. Injury is not serious.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) April 5, 2013
Viktor Fasth will start in goal. BB said Jonas Hiller has a cold but should be able to back up.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) April 5, 2013
BB said Lombardi could be an option to center top line if Getzlaf doesn't play. Steckel is available for action.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) April 5, 2013
More Boudreau on Getzlaf: "If he doesn’t feel comfortable today, then he’ll probably play Sunday."— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) April 5, 2013