The fourth matchup between Anaheim and Dallas was another brutal and aggressive game, that ended with disappointment for the Ducks. So that marks the second time that Anaheim, despite jumping to a two game lead in the series, fell to the Stars playing in Dallas. Who were the standouts? Whose performance fell short?
-5: Team Effort (Last Game: NR): After the first period, the entire Anaheim Ducks team looked entirely deflated. There was a completely different energy in the second and third period compared to the first period. All in all, there was simply a significant change in the all around team effort once the whistle sounded for the end of the first period. That drop is seriously unacceptable at this calibre of play and while in the postseason.
-4: Frederik Andersen (Last Game: +2): We have all heard it so many times: "the goaltender's job is to give the team a chance to win." In game four, Andersen did his job in the first period, however after allowing the Stars to tie the game in the second period, and then failing to come up with some really necessary saves earns Andersen our -4 spot. Maybe this is a harsh judgement, [Ed. Note: Nope. Those first two goals were devastating. -CK] but this is playoff hockey, and Andersen did not step up to the plate with the performance in the fourth matchup.
-3: Saku Koivu (Last Game: -4): With a relatively low corsi of 35.7%, Saku Koivu had yet another lackluster game. The 17% win rate in the faceoff circle just put the cherry on top, and truly earned him a -3, which is still one seat higher than last game's ranking. When Boudreau decided to sit Teemu Selanne and Getzlaf had to sit for injury recovery, Saku Koivu had a huge door open to him, yet he failed to take advantage of it.
-2: Mark Fistric (Last Game: NR): With Stephane Robidas sidelined with another leg injury, the last defense position was up for grabs. When Fistric was announced to be filling that spot, at least for the fourth game, that golden opportunity just fell into his lap. However, he did not live up to expectations one bit and finished the game with unimpressive stats, including a rather undisciplined penalty to his name.
-1: Corey Perry (Last Game: -1 with Getzlaf): With his partner in crime, Ryan Getzlaf, out of the lineup for the night, Corey Perry was expected to make a much larger influence than normal nights, however game four's showing fell short. Perry had seven minutes of penalty time, and unfortunately that included a bad exchange with a fighting major taking Corey Perry off the ice with the Dallas Star, Antoine Roussel. All in all, several bad calls tonight and bad choices earns Perry's below average ranking.
Even 0: Francois Beauchemin (Last Game: NR): Despite an unimpressive corsi statistic to his name, Beauchemin tallied a team-leading seven blocked shots, making him one of the standout blue liners of the night. Anaheim's defender also managed to tally almost four minutes of ice time on the power play, and over four minutes of shorthanded time on the ice. Those two ice time statistics are proof of a huge vote of confidence from coach Bruce Boudreau.
+1: Bryan Allen (Last Game: -1): Despite my personal distaste for Bryan Allen, I have to admit that he had a really great performance in the first period of game four. Allen jump started the Ducks scoring with a beautiful slap shot from the point giving Anaheim the 1-0 lead around 12 minutes into the first period. After that great start, which should have earned him a higher ranking, Bryan Allen's rating slipped a bit when he fell victim to some poor decision in terms of discipline. Allen ended the game with a total of 16 penalty minutes including a 10 minute misconduct, and two other minors called at the final horn of the game. Balancing that out, I am keeping Bryan Allen in the positive positions at a +1 ranking.
+2: Daniel Winnik (Last Game: +4): Even though Winnik was not as stellar as he was in game three, he still managed to outperform several other Duck players. Despite his lackluster statistics, the presence he brought to the forechecking and the solid two-way game he played really impressed me and made him worthy of a +2 ranking on my scale. Winnik lead all forwards in ice time when shorthanded, and considering the penalty kill kept Dallas scoreless on three opportunities, I attribute a lot of that shutdown to Daniel Winnik.
+3: Ben Lovejoy (Last Game: +3): Consistency has truly been the name of the game for Ben Lovejoy, who truly brings his best to the ice ever night. Lovejoy tied for the team lead in corsi with a very noteworthy 63% statistic. He had some truly fantastic defensive plays that kept the opportunities to score at a minimum for Dallas. All around, I have been truly impressed with Lovejoy's performance through the first four games, even if his team disappoints, he has proven to be a reliable supply of energy.
+4: Young Line of Smith-Pelly, Rakell, Etem (Last Game: NR): Collectively, these three young players combined for seven shots, six hits, one take away, and a total of a -1 rating, which is pretty fantastic for a game in which your team loses 4-2. Anaheim found some great chemistry between this trio, and one of my favorite new energy lines, which has an average age of just over 20 years old. This trio really succeeded in controlling the puck as well, with solid corsi statistics for each of these three players. All around, I was impressed and proud to have such a young line fighting so hard.
+5: Patrick Maroon (Last Game: NR): I have been a supporter of the more aggressive style of play for Anaheim's postseason strategy and, in game four, Pat Maroon really personified the strength and grit that I truly enjoy to watch. Maroon ended the night with one goal on two shots, with four hits, one blocked shot, and two takeaways to his name. All around, Maroon managed to step up to the plate in more ways than one, and even with a second straight ten-minute misconduct, he also kept a solid discipline until the last three minutes of the game, and ended up taking Vernon Fiddler out with a misconduct as well. In short, I have been blown away by Maroon's performances, and am proud to make him my +5 ranking.
In summary, for the first time this series, the team that had stronger possession statistics ended up winning the game. That spells for at least two more games, if not a full seven game series for this first round match up. Here comes the true battle. Let's go Ducks!