Tonight's game marks the first match-up between the Dallas Stars and the Ducks since the Ducks eliminated the Stars from the Western Conference Quarterfinals this past April. Though the Ducks were (sort of) expected to win, many people predicted a Stars upset. And when the Stars failed to finish the job, a lot of Stars fans were very upset. I personally remember being quite relieved, but that's just me.
I smell the rekindling of a great rivalry!
In today's links, I posted an article from The Dallas Morning News (spoiler alert) that says that Cody Eakin will be deployed against the Twins. If Eakin shuts them down, we're toast. Expect our dear friends Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt to mix it up as well. And of course, one must always be wary of Dallas' "Twins," Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. (Don't be offended, guys. It's a fairly accurate description).
On the injury front, Stars defensemen Patrik Nemeth (arm) and Sergei Gonchar (ankle) are out. On our end, Kyle Palmieri (ankle), Patrick Maroon (knee), Bryan Allen (lower body), and Ben Lovejoy (finger) are all out, though word has it that Maroon is progressing much faster than expected and may play on this trip.
Also, Dallas might be the only NHL team (okay, maybe not) that has more backup goalie drama than we do. Anders Lindback has not been playing well, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Kari Lehtonen in net.
What Can We Learn From This Game?:
We will learn if the Ducks can prevent their road skid from getting worse. After getting off to a hot start, the Ducks have cooled off. If the Stars are looking for revenge, we must show our resilience after being shut out 2-0 by the St. Louis Blues yesterday.
Historically, the Ducks have not matched up well against the Stars in the regular season, especially in Dallas (in their last 13 regular season matchups, the Stars are 9-2-2 against the Ducks). Furthermore, the Ducks' major skid last fall began after a 6-3 loss to Dallas. Yikes.
How do we prevent this? Getzlaf cannot allow Eakin to shut him down. The Twins must return to their early season form. Both Perry and Getzlaf were on a goal and point/game basis, respectively, but they have both remained pointless and goalless in their last three games. Of course, it is completely unreasonable for them to maintain that scoring pace throughout the year, but we need them to score. Seriously.
Furthermore, the Ducks will need to improve their special teams. Thus far during their road trip, they are 0 for 5 on the power play after converting 5 of 18 power play opportunities in their previous four games. The Stars, on the other hand, have converted 7 of 24 power play opportunities. So, basically, our penalty kill will need to click as well.
I predict that the Twins will return to their usual form, but we won't really need them to finish the job. Star Killer Devante Smith-Pelly scores a hat trick, which will be more frightening to the assembled Dallas fans than the scariest Halloween costume ever.