Dallas Stars (25-21-2, 52 pts) @ Anaheim Ducks (19-23-7, 45 pts)
9:30 PM CT, February 1, 2012
Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Hey ya, welcome back to hockey. It's been seemingly forever since the Stars have played a game and it's good to have hockey back again tonight. Dallas gets Anaheim again, the team that they played (and beat 1-0) in the game just before the All-Star break.
Dallas comes into this game finally healthy. Jamie Benn (super accurate Jamie Benn) and Brenden Morrow are off the IR and ready to roll again. The lineups should be back to what they usually were and expect Loui Eriksson to get back to his point-gathering self.
Benn missed five games while Morrow was out for just one. Dallas went 1-3-1 in the time without Benn and dropped down into 10th in the West (or at least tied for 10th with Calgary and Phoenix) with 52 points. They're three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot and have two games in hand.
Dallas shutout the Ducks in the last game that they played as Kari Lehtonen put in another stellar performance and Alex Goligoski got a little bit of luck with a deflected goal. Dallas made a few roster moves after that game by sending down some of their younger guys (Philip Larsen, Tomas Vincour, Matt Fraser). Only Larsen was recalled to the team as Dallas looks like it's going with eight defensemen. Whether this is a precursor to a trade is unknown but it certainly seems like a possibility now.
Kari Lehtonen gets the start tonight and there are shockingly no injuries of note for the Stars.
more after the jump
Before the break, these two teams were on direct opposite paths. Dallas was floundering (3-6-1 before playing Anaheim) while the Ducks were fire (winning eight of their last nine games) and Anaheim had carried their hot play into February. They've won 9 of their last 11 games with their only two losses coming in road shutouts.
The Ducks come into this game as the second night of a back-to-back. They whipped the Coyotes in Phoenix 4-1 last night as Andrew Cogliano got himself the first hat-trick of his career. Anaheim has been hot on offense and defense during their win streak last month. In the past 11 games, they've scored two goals or less only twice and allowed more than two goals only once.
They've been outscoring other teams by two goals a game and the scariest thing is that it's not just their top players that have been scoring. Anahiem has scored 40 goals in their last 11 games. The Perry-Selanne-Ryan-Getzlaf group only has 19 of those goals. It's the Jason Blakes and Coglianos of the world that Dallas has to look out for tonight.
The Ducks are 3-3-0 in B2B situations this year.
Jonas Hiller should get the call tonight. The only injury of note is to backup goalie Dan Ellis (groin).
Notes and thoughts:
- Anaheim has won its last six home games by a 27-13 margin. They are 13-12-1 at home this year.
- Dallas is 11-12-0 on the road this year.
- October 21 at Honda Center: Dallas 3 - Anaheim 1
- December 19 at American Airlines Center: Dallas 5 - Anaheim 3
- January 10 at Honda Center: Dallas 2 - Anaheim 5
- January 24 at American Airlines Center: Dallas 1 - Anaheim 0
|Goals per game||2.75||2.25|
|Shots per game||24||29.25|
|Hits per game||24.25||19|
|PIM per game||10.75||9.25|
|Power Play||2 of 9 (22%)||3 of 13 (23%)|
|Penalty Kill||10 of 13 (77%)||7 of 9 (78%)|