Game three did not go as planned. So how much of games one and two were just luck? The third matchup featured the Ducks playing a game that some could argue was not bad, but still came up empty with a final score of 3-0 in favor of Dallas. Overall, the Ducks dominated possession, however lacked in execution and ended regulation getting completely shutout, despite getting 37 shots on Dallas netminder, Kari Lehtonen. Let's get going with this ranking scale.
-5: Powerplay (last game: -1) - Atrocious. Zero production despite six chances with the extra man. Absolutely no creativity, being shut down in shots, passes and even simply attempting to enter the offensive zone. I could go for days, but I shouldn't.
-4: Saku Koivu (last game: NR) - Sometimes players have off nights, and other times we forget why they are even dressed. Tonight was the second option for Saku Koivu who seriously couldn't even control the puck. Boudreau clearly caught onto his shortcomings tonight and limited his time on the ice to less than 8:30, with less than 60 seconds on the powerplay or penalty kill each. Despite sporting the second best faceoff percentage on the team with a 78% win rate, Koivu's possession was simply dismal and earned him my -4 spot.
-3: Twins (last game: Perry +2, Getzlaf +5) - The twin pair of Getzlaf and Perry are known, and feared, throughout the league for their offensive prowess, however tonight they were completely invisible. Combined the duo tallied four shots, two hits, three blocked shots, and a -1 rating. Anaheim expects so much more from the top line pair and the fact they were held off the score sheet and completely shut down is simply appalling and unacceptable. The icing on this -3 rated cake? These two leaders became too emotional and hot-headed leading to seriously undisciplined conduct, with Getzlaf, our beloved captain, even resorting to throwing a few punches.
-2: Hamphus Lindholm (last game: NR) - As one of our better offensive blue liners, the Ducks seriously rely on Lindholm's ability to drive and make plays, however in game three, in over 19 minutes of ice time he did not manage a single shot on net. Instead, Lindholm has two giveaways credited to his name, and I largely blame the opening Dallas goal by Jamie Benn on Hampus Lindholm's inability to clear the puck from the front of the Anaheim net.
-1: Bryan Allen (last game: NR) - Bryan Allen's not one, but two, undisciplined penalties tonight has earned him a comfortable position in our -1 slot. Allen was actually highlighted as bring a physical aspect to the game, yet was only credited with a single hit. The Duck blue liner would absolutely find himself further negative on this list had it not been for several competent defensive plays that kept Dallas out of the shooting lanes.
Even 0: Mathieu Perreault (last game: NR) - Perreault sports a middle-of-the-road 53% faceoff winning percentage in game three against the Dallas Stars, but also had an absolutely brilliant game when it came to simple puck possession. Perreault, as a second center on the powerplay unit, would ideally have a higher faceoff percentage, however clearly he's been doing something right with Boudreau rewarding him with almost 6 minutes of powerplay time, and a total of almost 17 minutes. Frenchie also had three shots on goal and four hits credited to his name.
+1: Devante Smith-Pelly (last game: NR) - When a young player is called into the lineup because of another player's injury, like Smith-Pelly was for Beleskey, expectations don't seem to be set too high. However, any and all hopes I had for Devante's night, especially when playing alongside Perry and Getzlaf, were far exceeded. Smith-Pelly, who has the most pounds per inch of height (222lb / 72in = 3.08 lb/in) was an absolute bowling ball tonight with a team-leading 10 hits to his name. He was not afraid to use his size and make a lasting impression on players such as Jamie Benn, who definitely was on the lookout for Devante after one hit.
+2: Frederik Andersen (last game: +4) - Even with a sub-par save percentage of .864, Frederik Andersen absolutely did his role in giving his team a chance to win. Two of the three goals for the Dallas Stars were only after Andersen had made several spectacular saves, and received no assistance from his defenders in clearing the puck away from the net. The Great Dane did have some small mistakes when it came to rebound control, however more often than not he corrected them by making secondary, and sometimes even tertiary saves.
+3: Ben Lovejoy (last game: NR) - Everywhere I looked, my eyes seemed to catch Anaheim number six doing something right. Lovejoy had a very strong, active stick throughout the game, which often meant he was in passing or shooting lanes, and had two blocked shots, including a standout that robbed Jamie Benn of a golden scoring chance. Lovejoy was also second best out of defenders in possession, statistically speaking. All around, Lovejoy was just making solid plays and helping in the task of shutting down the key scoring threats for the Dallas Stars.
+4: Daniel Winnik (last game: +1) - When it comes to a reliable energy player, there is none better than Mr. Daniel Winnik. If the Ducks are looking for a more physical presence, he isn't afraid to throw his weight around, yet when they need more offensive power he is not lacking their either. Of Winnik's 12:09 ice time tonight almost three minutes of it was spent killing penalties. I have become a true fan of Winnik's abilities in a shorthanded situations, and clearly so has Bruce Boudreau with how much time Anaheim's big #34 is spent on the penalty killing unit.
+5: Penalty Kill (last game: NR) - Started this scale with one example of special teams, and here on the much more acceptable side of the ranking we have the second special team unit. Anaheim's penalty killing was flawless tonight, holding all three of the powerplay chances for the Stars scoreless. For Anaheim, this was a strong bounce back after allowing several goals while Dallas had the powerplay opportunities in the opening two meetings at Honda Center. All in all, between the shutdown abilities of Beauchemin, Fowler, and Winnik all on point tonight, Dallas was held off the score sheet when they had the extra man.
Overall, the Ducks played a better game than the scoreboard gave them credit for in game three. The Dallas Stars certainly found ways to feed off the energy of their home arena, and make the battle tough for Anaheim, especially with some pretty fantastic play by Kari Lehtonen.
The main problem that, in my opinion, needs to be addressed is the powerplay drought. Having six opportunities with an extra man on the ice and still ending the game shutout is just appalling, and frankly disgraceful. Game four should spell for hopefully another exciting showdown, however let's get that third win!