What we learned from the previous game: The last time these two teams met during the season, the Anaheim Ducks were shut out for the first time in the season. The Dallas Stars' speed wore down the Stadium Series hungover Ducks. The sleepy Ducks were completely outskated and outworked by the young and quick green-clad stars. While the Ducks have for the most part successfully kept the star-studded duo Jaime Benn and Tyler Seguin off the boards, it came at the cost of leaving other players open.
For a full coverage and analusis, check out Eric's Season Series Recap a detailed summary of the three games between the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars.
What needs to change for this game:
While we can look over and analyze every play made during the season series, we also know the playoffs are an entirely different animal. Fortunately, the Ducks get this chance to start with a clean slate against the Stars--with the addition of former Star Stephane Robidas to boost the blue line.
A couple of key points to achieve success against the Dallas Stars....
The Ducks will fare well if they play a disciplined and patient game. We all know that the Stars have a very good chance of upsetting given the chance to use their speed against the Ducks. Rather than being caught flat-footed, if the Ducks play shutdown defense anything like they did against Vancouver and San Jose, they will have no problem against Dallas. It's important that the Ducks don't scramble around to match the Stars' speed--rather, the Ducks need to slow down the play and force the Stars to play at Anaheim's pace. Neutral zone turnovers and stupid pinches will play right into the Stars' hands.
And while Stars has slightly higher puck-possession stats, the season's last games showed that the Ducks are indeed capable of holding possession against the best.
And the most obvious thing that bears repeating is to shut down the Benn-Seguin duo...but unlike in the past two meetings, shut down the duo WITHOUT opening it up for the other lines. While the Stars don't have any other notable Stars besides that duo, young 'uns like Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin, as well as Ryan Garbutt[crack] and Alex Goligoski can really challenge the Ducks. The Ducks will have to depend more on the offensive depth to produce goals if Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are kept off the scoreboard.
Finally, Kari Lehtonen can show up and steal any game. It'll be up to the Ducks to pelt him early on and shake his confidence.
Roster changes: Biggest question will be who appears in net for the Anaheim Ducks. Though Bruce has indicated that Game 1 open to either rookie netminders--Frederik Andersen or John Gibson, I would be shocked if we didn't see the red giant first off the ice.
Stay tuned for the roster line-ups.
Fearless prediction: Stephane Robidas almost takes down Corey Perry in a brief moment of confusion and flashback.