Anaheim Ducks (9-18-5, 23 pts) @ Dallas Stars (18-12-1, 37 pts)
7:00 PM CT, December 19, 2011
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Stars finally return to the friendly confines of the AAC tonight to take on the Anaheim Ducks. It's been awhile since the Stars have played here, 16 days in fact. The Stars are coming off 3-2-0 road trip that ended poorly with the 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Richard Bachman suffered the first NHL loss of his career and Dallas sustained injuries to Tomas Vincour and Philip Larsen.
Things could get back on track tonight as the Anaheim Ducks are the second worst team in NHL, only one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks are a pretty bad team all around. They have the second worst goal differential in the league (again only one goal ahead of the Blue Jackets) and are the worst road team in the league. They fired Randy Carlyle about two weeks ago and hired Washington Capitals cast-off Bruce Boudreau in his place. The Ducks have gone 2-5-1 since that coach replacement, something that might actually be considered a smashing success.
The Ducks are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, a scoreline that has looked very familiar to them lately. Since Nov. 17, a span of 14 games, the Ducks have allowed less than 3 goals only 3 times. The goalie duo of Jonas Hiller and Dan Ellis have just been horrendous and they haven't won on the road in 11 games, going 0-8-3. Their last road win was all the way back on October 27. In other words, a loss to Anaheim would be terrible for the Stars.
About the only bright spot for the Ducks has been the ageless Teemu Selanne. Selanne has a eight game point streak, scoring two goals and dishing out nine assists in that span. For all the Ducks offensive woes, he actually sits in the top-20 scorers in the NHL. Corey Perry, last year's MVP, had his first multi-goal game of the season in their loss to the Jets so he remains a deadly option despite his down season.
If Dallas shuts down Selanne, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, the game should be in the Stars' hands.
Dallas won the previous meeting this season (in Anaheim) between these two by a 3-1 score.
Richard Bachman will be making the start again for Dallas, his fifth in a row. The Stars will be without Philip Larsen (lower body), Tomas Vincour (knee) , Adam Burish (hand) and Kari Lehtonen (groin). Burish is very close to returning from his broken hand though so expect him back within the next few games.
The Ducks have injuries to forwards Saku Koivu (groin), Jason Blake (wrist) and defenseman Matt Smaby (thumb)
- The game gets some national attention tonight. It will be on the Versus channel.
- Dallas has been fantastic on the PK recently. They have been 100% (15 of 15) in their last five games, all on the road.
- The Ducks have allowed a power-play goal in four straight games.
- Anaheim has scored the least goals on the road in the NHL. They've scored 26 away from home ice, one behind Buffalo Sabres despite having played three more road games than them.
- Dallas is 9-4-1 at home. The Ducks are 2-9-4 on the road.