Date: Thursday, January 9, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
Location: Honda Center
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Defending Big D
Not only are the Dallas Stars second in the Central Division so far, they are doing it with two former Anaheim Ducks who were fan favorites. Andrew Cogliano was traded in exchange for Devin Shore last season, while Corey Perry signed in Dallas after the Ducks bought out the remainder of his contract. Full disclosure: I had a rough time with that particular transaction.
Even though Perry won’t be on the ice due to a five-game suspension he received for elbowing Ryan Ellis during the Winter Classic, the Ducks are scheduled to play tribute videos for both him and Cogliano. Of course, there’s still a game to play for the 17-21-5 Ducks who lost a frustrating contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday by the score of 4-3. Not only did a failed coach’s challenge cost Dallas Eakins, his squad also lost Jakob Silfverberg to an upper-body injury. The winger has been ruled out against Dallas.
Players to Watch
Unsurprisingly, Tyler Seguin has led the way for Dallas with 11 goals and 22 assists so far. John Klingberg is unavailable due to a lower body injury, but fellow defenseman Miro Heiskanen has already collected seven goals and 15 assists at only 20 years of age.
For the Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf has five points in his last two games and leads the Ducks in assists (19) and points (30). Rickard Rakell returned to action against Columbus and ranks third on the team with 25 points.
Keys to the Game
1. Succeed between the pipes.
Dallas may have the reputation of a high-octane offense, but the Stars have only scored four more goals than the Ducks this season. They are 25-14-4 in large part due to excellent goaltending from both halves of the tandem. Former Duck Anton Khudobin has been fantastic in the backup role with a .933 save percentage. Tonight’s expected starter Ben Bishop has also excelled, posting a .926 SV% while saving 14.88 goals above average (GSAA). John Gibson is no stranger to strong seasons himself but has struggled compared to his average campaign (.906 SV% and -2.30 GSAA in 2019-20). However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him outduel Bishop on any given night.
2. Don’t make it a special teams battle.
The Stars are fifth in the league in penalty killing (83.1%) compared to 21st (78.7%) for the Ducks. Neither has been particularly lethal on the power play, as Dallas is ranked 18th (18.5%) and Anaheim is 26th (15.3%). Regardless, Dallas seems more likely to kill off multiple penalties than Anaheim, so the Ducks would prefer to play at 5-on-5 for the majority of the contest if they can help it.
3. Keep it up, Kase.
Ondrej Kase gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead early in the second period on Tuesday, then added another goal in the final minute of the third with his club down by two. An early-season injury and 5% shooting percentage have limited his presence on the scoresheet, but the Czech winger can be a difference maker if he gets hot. He has also made a difference when games come down to a shootout. Kase even had a hat trick against the Stars in December of 2018.