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First Round: Season Series Recap

Meeting in the playoffs for the first time since the post-Cup season, the Dallas Stars have given the Ducks trouble this season.

This season's meetings between the Ducks and Dallas have yielded three drastically different results.
This season's meetings between the Ducks and Dallas have yielded three drastically different results.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ducks Record vs. Dallas Stars: 1-2-0

October 20, '13: Ducks 6 vs Stars 3

Original Game Story - Defending Big D (Stars Blog) Recap

The eighth game of the season, the Ducks entered the night on a six-game winning streak in the final game of a home stand before heading east on an eight-game road trip. This would mark the NHL debut of Frederik Andersen, who stopped all 24 shots he faced from the start of the second period on in relief of Jonas Hiller, who gave up three goals on 12 shots as the Ducks trailed 3-1 through one. The Stars had been up-and-down coming into the game, having lost 5-2 the night prior in LA, and proved to be easy pickings once the Anaheim intensity ratcheted up for the final 40 minutes.

Dallas rookie Jack Campbell struggled to hold up under a barrage of 47 shots on net, as the Ducks would score three even strength, two power play, and one shorthanded goal. Defensemen Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski were each on the ice for multiple goals against, and the dynamic duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn had yet to be paired. Future Duck Stephane Robidas was one of four Stars skaters that finished a plus in the game, which became quite chippy over the course of the final two periods. Ryan Garbutt took a run at Dustin Penner, knocking the big man out and though unpenalized in the game was suspended five games by the league office.

Coming into the game just 1-for-27 on the power play, man advantage markers by Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry proved a vital spark, and Emerson Etem scored the game winner on the first shorthanded tally of his career. The Twins carried much of the load offensively in one of the first of many comebacks, with Ryan Getzlaf scoring a goal and collecting three assists, while Perry had two goals and an assist. The win tied a franchise record at the time with seven consecutive triumphs and forebode the team's dominance at home with their first ever five game home stand sweep. It also put the Ducks well on their way to an eventual record setting year by giving the team 14 points through their first eight games, equalling the illustrious 2006-'07 squad for tops all time through that span.

November 26, '13: Ducks 3 at Stars 6

Original Game Story - Defending Big D Recap

On a night where not only did the Stars wear their white jerseys at home, they also gave the nod to then-backup Dan Ellis instead of Kari Lehtonen, who had started the previous 14 games, roaring back with five goals in the final period to pick up the win. This game was broadcast nationally on NBCSN, the only game of the evening on the day the Canadian television deal was announced, and the Ducks defense laid an egg in the third giving up three goals in a span of 53 seconds to turn what was a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 hole. This was Anaheim's second consecutive road game and sixth away appearance in eight games, the previous four visiting contests being the ill-fated eastern trip including the games in Sunrise, St. Petersburg, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh where various members of the team went through a bout with the flu.

Etem and Nick Bonino had staked Anaheim to a lead through two periods in the first game facing the Benn-Seguin pairing, but it was the Stars depth that proved the killer during the Dallas-dominated third period. Cody Eakin started the three goal, 53 second blitzkreig, Robidas put the Stars in front, and then 'building his hateability credentials' Garbutt capped the run. Antoine Roussel had a starring performance as well, scoring the second of his two goals on the game to put the game out of reach despite Penner's power play tally with 6:35 remaining and continuing his irritating play picking up a penalty in the first period after having racked up 16 in PIMs the first meeting. Alex Chiasson hit the empty net to seal it.

The game is the perfect example of what could be so worrisome about the first round matchup, as in the third period slack defense was torched by the Stars speed. Getzlaf and Perry were each minus three for the game and generated only five of the team's 31 shots on goal between them. As the game wore on Anaheim wore down, being out-shot 24-17 over the final two periods and 33-31 for the game. In hindsight it's interesting seeing Robidas as a thorn in the Ducks' side; one would have to figure he may have insight to aid the blue liners with extensive knowledge of Stars personnel and systems from his eight previous seasons in the lone star state, though spending just 24 games with the squad under the direction of Lindy Ruff.

February 1, '14: Ducks 0 vs Stars 2

Original Game Story - Defending Big D Recap

If the November loss was concerning for the rapidity in which the Stars snatched it away in the third period, this defeat was disappointing in being the first time the team was shut out in the season. Just five games removed from having their Honda Center immortality taken by the Jets, this was part of the 2-4-0 dip between the Stadium Series victory and the Olympic break. Once again it was Ellis in net and the former Duck made 27 stops as Lehtonen had started 20 of the previous 21 affairs, earning a respite following back-to-back losses. Even more eyebrow raising about the result was the fact that the Stars came in 0-4-1 in their previous five road games.

Unlikely scorer Daley had the game winner, and Benn and Seguin put their only points of the season against the Ducks on the scoresheet on Benn's empty-netter to seal the result. Anaheim was out-shot 21-14 through the first two periods, and despite two of their three power plays on the game coming in the third couldn't manage to tie it on any of their 12 on goal attempts in the final 20. Nick Bonino missed the game with an upper body injury that would put him out of action until after the Olympics.

In what was really a blasé game, Anaheim seemingly couldn't shake both a Stadium Series hangover as well as anticipation of an extended break for some and the opportunity to represent country for several others. It was the kind of effort not entirely indicative of the team the Ducks have been for the balance of the season, or where the squad is coming into the Stanley Cup season. Since the last time these teams met the Ducks have gone 14-8-3, while the Stars secured a playoff spot coming 15-10-2 down the stretch. The first meeting showed what the Ducks can score in bunches against the Dallas defense, but just as easily the second showed the defense can ill-afford to sleep on the Stars speed. Without having seen expected starter Lehtonen all season, all these factors and more will make for an interesting opening round affair.