In a must win game in order to stay in contention for a home-ice first round opener our Anaheim Ducks put together their 4th straight win on Francois Beauchemins’ final regular season home game of his career. They put a 2 spot on the Stars and never looked back, finishing the night 5 - 3 in a game where they dominated in scoring chances.
The Ducks started with a relentless onslaught, entering the Dallas zone with speed and ease. They were rewarded just over two minutes in when Josh Manson sauced a beautiful pass to the middle slot which was then redirected in by Jakob Silfverberg for the opening score. Three minutes later Alexander Radulov took a slashing penalty when he attempted to hold up Ryan Getzlaf on his way to the net. On the resulting Power Play Anaheim made it 2-0 when Rickard Rakell made some nice moves heading toward the net, converting his own rebound as he cruised through the slot.
Then 5 minutes later a defensive breakdown in the Anaheim zone lead to a easy high slot scoring chance for Marc Methot who buried a wrist shot past Miller to make it 2-1. Kesler was kind of bad on that play and also screened his own goaltender whilst attempting a half-assed block.
The remainder of the first saw the Stars hold the Anaheim zone but unable to generate any real scoring chances before Nick Ritchie’s brother Brett decided to cross check Rickard Rakell for whatever reason and the Ducks went on another Power Play for the remaining 2 minutes of the period. The 2nd unit couldn't even gain the zone let alone get much past the red line with mass confusion between puck carriers leading a quick change to the 1st unit which managed to finally set up. With twenty seconds left and the penalty expired - Hampus Lindholm sent a wide wrist shot from the left point which Jakob Silfverberg expertly tipped down and through McKenna. 3-1 Ducks entering the first intermission.
The first few minutes of the middle frame played without much incident until Stars captain Jamie Benn ran over Ondrej Kase in the neutral zone and was given a cross checking penalty. Again the Ducks had a few hiccups on the ensuing man advantage, Andy Welinski lost an edge by the Ducks blue line and Miller came to his rescue making a save on a 2 on 1.
Dallas killed the penalty but two minutes later Josh Manson finished a rebound in-close as he joined Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on a rush into the Dallas zone. 4 - 1 Ducks.
Anaheim kept up the pressure but another lapse in concentration lead to the Stars holding the zone and firing a shot to the right of the Ducks net which went off Radek Faksa and past the surprised Ryan Miller. 4 - 2 Ducks.
Dallas took another penalty just after the midway point of the game when Tyler Seguin got his stick caught in Ryan Keslers skates, Anaheim looked much better on both units of this Power Play but neither could put one past McKenna.
The middle frame ended with Anaheim enjoying 66.7% High Danger Chances and 61.1% Corsi.
Dallas forced the issue to start the 3rd and dominated play for much of the first few minutes, generating several high danger chances before captain Jamie Benn put one past Miller as he came speeding down the slot, using Montour as a semi screen. 4 - 3 Ducks.
Just before the midpoint of the 3rd Nick Ritchie took a penalty for Interference and Dallas saw their only two minutes with the man advantage. The Stars had some chances but the penalty was successfully killed.
With five minutes left in the game the Kesler line executed some great cycle down low, resulting in Silfverberg setting up Cogliano for a point black one timer in front that was turned aside by McKenna. But just as Jim Fox was gleefully exclaiming that McKenna was “keeping the Stars in the game” the Kesler line forced a turnover in the neutral zone and came back in on an odd man rush, where Silfverberg fed Cogliano for a partial breakaway in front and the Masterton Trophy nominee made no mistake. 5 - 3 Ducks.
The Getzlaf line executed a few more brilliant shifts and Dallas made one last final push in the last two minutes but Anaheim closed out the Stars and took the final score 5 - 3.
The Ducks are right back at it tomorrow in Arizona 6pm PT, look out for the AC crew if you are at the game - a few of our best are being sent to infiltrate.