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Stars at Ducks Game 5 Preview: To Save the Season

The series shifts back to Anaheim for the biggest and most important game of the series thus far.

Ronald Martinez

What We Learned From the Last Game:

In one fell swoop, Anaheim's outlook on this series went from pretty good to really, really bad.

Yes the series is tied with the Anaheim Ducks coming home. But the Dallas Stars just came off of two games where they essentially cleaned the Ducks' clocks and are riding a tidal wave of confidence. Combine that with the fact that they know Anaheim kind of got lucky through games one and two at home (defending one-goal leads until the buzzer). They essentially figured the Ducks out, and they know they can win this.

And if they do, they go back to Dallas with a chance to close out the series.

I don't think I need to remind anyone what happened the last time the Ducks lost game five at home (Nashville, 2011).

What We Need to Change This Game: Last game the Ducks played an excellent first 20 minutes, only to pack it in and play their worst period of the playoffs in the second. For the first time, goaltending was included in that. Both goals Frederik Andersen let in were crap, and rather than responding, Anaheim got outshot 16-3.

The third period was no better as the Ducks gave up goals 1:22 apart to seal the loss.

The team effort needs to be better because if you thought the stakes were high last game, they are a thousand times higher tonight.

That and the power play which has now gone 0/12 in the last three games should probably tally one tonight. Just a thought.

Last game, the Stars were essentially playing for their season. Tonight, Anaheim is essentially playing for theirs.

Roster Changes: [Last Updated: 12:53 pm PDT] I will update this further as the day goes along but it appears Teemu Selanne will draw back into the lineup, as almost everyone thought he would.

Matt Beleskey is taking rushes this morning, but does not appear to be in tonight. Rather, (per Eric Stephens) Matty is shooting for a return in game 6.

Luca Sbisa MAY WILL play tonight for the first time in this series, most likely replacing either Mark Fistric or Hampus Lindholm, who has been struggling mightily so far. It was initially "confirmed" this morning, but since then Sbisa has told media scrums that he is a game-time decision.

Yeah, he's in.

Ryan Getzlaf was taking line rushes with Nick Bonino and Corey Perry this morning, but has not yet been officially confirmed. Knowing him, the fact that he's taking the rushes alone pretty much means he's in.

Bones taking rushes alongside the twins likely means the fourth-line center duties will fall to Rickard Rakell, thus he will stay in. It has been confirmed that all three of the kids, including Rakell, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Emerson Etem, will likely be in again. This also likely means Jakob Silfverberg and Kyle Palmieri will be watching from the press box tonight.

Frederik Andersen will be back in net, though you'd have to imagine with a very, very short leash.

Worth noting from our opponents however, is that Brenden Dillon may be returning tonight, giving a boost to their defense.

Fearless Prediction: Ryan Garbutt takes to ice and genuinely becomes a nice pe-holy crap I can't even finish that sentence.