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Ducks Stars Game 2 Preview: Slow and Steady

Even though they let the Stars back into Game 1 after having them down and out, replicating that performance would go a long way toward grabbing a 2-0 series lead tonight.

Jeff Gross

What we learned from Game 1: Not much. After one game, the series still could go in any number of different directions. There were moments when the Ducks looked like they would steamroll right through Dallas and others where they had a tenuous grip on the game at best. The power play looked as awful as ever (especially on the first opportunity) but also moved the puck well, ending up with two goals and a shot off the post.

Despite some fluctuations on the scoreboard and with the special teams however, our buddy Kid ish noted yesterday that in terms of puck possession the Ducks were relatively stable at 5-on-5. I also thought the Ducks did a good job at neutralizing Dallas' speed, which was of great concern and still is, and that is supported by the zone exit data that Defending Big D presented yesterday.

The Stars seemed most dangerous, not off the rush but keeping the puck in the zone and eventually getting to a scramble in front of the net. In fact, the Ducks did all of their 5-on-5 damage off of the counter attack after such spells of pressure from the Stars.

And while Game 1 was much closer than it should have been, the overwhelming reason for that was a single 5-on-3 power play for the Stars. The Ducks played a solid game and shouldn't deviate too much from what they did on Wednesday.

What needs to change for Game 2: Jumping out to a four goal lead is not the norm in the playoffs, even if San Jose did it to the Kings last night too (and actually one upped the Ducks with a 5-0 lead). Expect the Stars to be much sharper from the drop of the puck tonight.

One thing that the Ducks should clean up is their turnovers as the official game sheet has them at a -4 turnover differential. While that doesn't seem like much, it should be noted that those weren't your standard chip out of the zone turnovers that we see when the score effects are kicking in and the Ducks/leading team simply curls up into a defensive shell, because that didn't really happen in Game 1. Plus, it's always a good idea to limit turnovers.

There wasn't much Frederik Andersen could have done about any of the goals (one 5-on-3, one screened and effectively on the PP, and one tipped) but he could do with a wee bit more rebound control. Again, there aren't really any massive changes that the Ducks need to make, until they see what the Stars bring to start the game. If they can continue to contain Dallas' breakouts keeping them to the outside, the Stars' best source of offense will be crashing the net for rebounds. So, similar to the turnovers, the fewer the better.

Roster changes: Matt Beleskey did not skate yesterday and is listed as day-to-day/a game-time decision after re-aggravating a nagging injury in Game 1. Ryan Getzlaf is "expected" to play (read: absolutely will, no question about it, who are you kidding, this is the goddamn playoffs) after "numerous stitches" and a negative X-Ray were all that resulted from his facial shot block on Seguin in the dying seconds of the game on Wednesday.

Brenden Dillon did not skate yesterday and told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News that "nothing's changed" with his injury situation. So as of now, he's probably not re-entering the lineup tonight.

Fearless prediction: Nobody goes up by four goals.