Ducks lead the series against the Stars 2-0 heading into the Lone Star State. While we all have enough reason to be ecstatic about that, this game also showed some things that are very necessary to focus on fixing before Game 3.
DISCLAIMER: very loose rankings ahead.
-5: Anaheim defense (last game: -3) - Going into this series, we knew the Stars' speed was going to be an issue. Unfortunately, the defensive corps in general hasn't been able to stop it very well. When you get outshot 36-19, you frankly shouldn't be winning hockey games. Yet here we are, looking at a 2-0 Anaheim series lead. The defense was the worst by far in the beginning of the game, as they surrendered a lot of shots in the slot after allowing the speedy Dallas forwards to waltz in to take some quality shots that Frederik Andersen fortunately stood tall for. To get a little more specific with defenders:
-4: Francois Beauchemin (last game: NR) - He didn't exactly get off to the right start tonight. Trying to make a pass across the ice to start a breakout, he instead passed the puck right to Cody Eakin in the defensive zone and had to get bailed out big time by Freddy. In addition, he could hardly ever hold the zone on power plays. The first Star goal could have been prevented by Beauch as well, as his positioning to lock off Chiasson wasn't great by any means.
-3: Refs (last game: -5) - Were there some suspect calls in this game? Absolutely. Are there going to be some people who think they should be lower on this list? Probably. But when they don't blow the whistle on Cogliano right before he scored the eventual game winner, you can't really say you hate them for that. Sure, there was a high stick that Mathieu Perreault took to the face that the zebras let go shortly after, but it fortunately didn't lead to a tally for the visitors or any injury to MP22. Long story short, they weren't great tonight, but it could've been worse. While I'm at it, hybrid icing is the worst. [Ed. Note: New rule, no more bitching about the refs unless it directly costs someone the game, which it could be argued in this case on Cogliano's goal -CK]
-2: Third period (last game: NR) - 3-1 lead early in the third period, what could go wrong?? The Ducks parked the bus at the station tonight after Cogliano's shorty put them up by two, and by the time they tried to get the engines up and running again, a Dallas team desperate to avoid a two-game deficit was on Anaheim's collective throat. The home team did not register a shot on Kari Lehtonen in the final 13:20 of the game. The Stars outshot the Ducks 15-2 in the 3rd, and if it wasn't for that wonderful man in between the pipes, this contest could have very easily gone to overtime, or back to Dallas tied at 1. Two very concerning stats to bold, but the reason I didn't put this lower is because, looking at the 3rd period as a whole, Cogliano.
-1: Power play unit (last game: NR) - The typical Anaheim power play was back at it again tonight, not getting a lot of fruitful chances. In a battle of terribly, evenly-matched special teams, the Dallas penalty kill won all three matchups with little difficulty, as the power play seemed to have burned out (or "regressed", as some analysts may prefer to put it) from their success in Game 1.
Even: Cam Fowler (last game: NR) - Fowler is matched up with Jamie Benn. Apart from an assist that Benn picked up when Fowler wasn't on the ice, he doesn't score. I can dig it.
+1: Daniel Winnik (last game: +3) - "Ol' Reliable for Bruce Boudreau and Anaheim", as the NBCSN broadcast so rightfully put it. Winnik was on the receiving end of a lot of good chances tonight but couldn't convert, having a knack for occasionally being in the right place at the right time. Most notably, he was strong on the penalty kill tonight, getting a lot of pucks over the blue line when the team needed it. This 'demotion' from last game wasn't for anything he did worse compared to Wednesday by any means, but instead, due to the fact that four guys made some massive contributions to the team.
+2: Corey Perry (last game: NR) - He was getting dangerous looks, especially in the slot, but he took a very avoidable penalty that led to Dallas' first goal plus a couple others. Most importantly though, #10 got the gorilla off his back by scoring his first playoff goal in years. Something to remember moving forward for Perry and everyone else though, bottom positioning isn't ideal when fighting Trevor Daley,
+3: Andrew Cogliano (last game: NR) - Speed kills, and Cogliano's got plenty. After getting away with a slash on Gonchar, he scored a shorthanded goal in the third to put the Ducks up 3-1. The fact that he can out-hustle almost anyone on the ice at any given time is obviously a very strong asset to have, and Cogliano knows how to create chances after beating the opposition to the puck all the times that he does.
+4: Frederik Andersen (last game: NR) - Another plus-.900 game for the calm, cool, and collected Mister Andersen. He bailed the team out in a big way, especially in the early goings of the game, and held the fort down for the remainder. Neither Dallas goal rests on his shoulders; he did everything he could have done and a little more to get his squad a hard-fought victory.
+5: Ryan Getzlaf (last game: +5) - Our captain is ALL MAN. After getting his jaw busted open and welcoming his third child this morning, a nice steal at the blue line and a little more patience than Lehtonen topped off with some dandy stickwork tied the game at one. A helper on the eventual game-winning goal doesn't exactly hurt his case either. Getzy is the epitome of a guy you want to call your captain.