Dallas Stars @ Anaheim Ducks
Tuesday, January 10th, 2016 7:00 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Defending the Big D
The universal truth for anyone actually watching the game is that Anaheim’s defense has been declining this past season. Blame it on what you want, but these are the facts:
1) The core players on the team have not changed drastically since last season.
2) Specifically the defensive corps hasn’t changed since last season. Sure we saw some of Simon Despres and we rotated in Brandon Montour, but that isn’t a backbreaker.
3) Team’s overall FF% is unimpressive and middling at 50% (15th in the league). Puck possession y’all.
4) SOG differential in more than a few games have been embarrassing.
4) History does not paint a friendly picture of team’s defense under Randy Carlyle.
Anyone watching the game knows that something isn’t right. There’s absolutely no way that we should be seeing this much of a decline of a team that hasn’t lost a core player. (Don’t say start screaming Ryan Getzlaf. We were just as bad when he was in the line-up.) I’ve said this before...so I’ll just #4 in my list and let you figure out my thesis here. This past Sunday’s game against former Ducks coach-Bruce Boudreau’s new team, Minnesota Wild, was a perfect example of everything I just mentioned.
Although the shot differential was not nearly as bad as we have seen in several of the games this season (ahem—refer to the game in Montreal or the recent New Years ), things didn’t look great for the Anaheim club throughout the second. Bruce was back at Honda Center with his cycle and trap game. And even though the Ducks were only down by one, it seemed loads away from a one-goal game. And their frustration certainly showed.
Well, another very frustrated team that’s clearly NOT playing to the pre-season’s hopes, is coming into town. The season has been less than spectacular for the Dallas Stars. Surprisingly, it’s not the usual suspects that are to blame for their season’s disappointing season. The goaltending has actually been better than before. And while the defense has not gotten any better, it isn’t as if the offense has gotten any worse. Well—technically it has. The Stars just can’t seem to remember how to finish.
So here’s the deal with Dallas in a nutshell....In the recent past years, Dallas has been able to cover up their deficiencies in shaky goaltending and shoddy defense with extraordinary offense. But now that the big guns such as Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp are not performing as expected, Dallas has been exposed for all their weaknesses. 17th in the league for the PP and 29th in the league for the PK makes for weak special teams.
All that being said, not too much has changed since the last time the Ducks face-offed against the Stars. But they beat the Anaheim club pretty soundly (6-2 if you needed reminding.) So here’s to hoping our backcheck looks better than their’s!