The Dallas Stars impressively kept their winning streak going last night, beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 last night at the Honda Center. The Stars again got an impressive effort in the crease from Kari Lehtonen and rode an early 2-0 lead to the win. The second line of Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Loui Eriksson was again the Stars best line and had two goals from Eriksson to lead the offense. Right off the opening face-off Ott fired the puck into the zone and Eriksson picked it up and put a sharp angle shot on the net that lead to a 1-0 lead. Then in the third with the Ducks pushing to tie the game, the line again entered the zone and got a puck down low. Benn picked a pocket down in the right corner and then flipped a pass towards the net for a wide-open Eriksson to score his second of the night.
The Stars again were outshot by a big margin (36-19 last night), but again skated off with two points when the buzzer finally sounded. This “formula” will not keep resulting in wins, but the Stars right now know how to play this way. The Ducks attacked with a onslaught on shots and chances in the 2nd, and the Stars held up until the last second when the Ducks got their lone goal right at the last second. While the numbers may be a little skewed by a lot of shots coming from out high and off by the boards, the Stars still have to keep working on this. They did look a little better and the quick start on the road was huge.
Tonight the Stars will take their 6-1 record with that five game winning streak over to the other side of southern California to face the L.A. Kings. The Kings (4-1-1) will enter this game on their own hot streak, having won three in and riding back-to-back shutouts. Scoring might be at a premium tonight. This should be the Stars toughest game yet, as they will be playing one of the tougher opponents they will face in the West on the road as part of a back-to-back.
Dallas will have to limit shots tonight, as Andrew Raycroft will get the start in the crease to give Lehtonen the night off. Raycroft’s only start so far this year was the Stars lone defeat and by far their worst game. Raycroft is definitely not Lehtonen and the Stars will have to adjust to have a chance tonight. The Kings are super-talented even without Drew Doughty right now, and they are are allowing next to nothing every game as well.
The puck drops at 9:30 CST in the Staples Center, and Stars fans can tune in on TXA-21 or 1310AM The Ticket as always. I expect a game that will get ugly and chippy. The Stars might have to rely on trying to create energy through other means and this Kings team can play very physical, as we saw a few times when the two teams met last season. If the Stars can help out Raycroft and keep the PK playing at the great level it has been to start the season then I think we could see a 2-1 game either way. But if not, this could be a repeat of the type of game from the 5-2 defeat the Stars took in game two. This could be the game where guys like Ott, Adam Burish, and other grinder/two-way guys will thrive and need to continue to contribute. As I know most of us will be watching the Texas Rangers in game three of the World Series, don’t forget to switch over and follow the Stars later in the evening. Hopefully by the time the puck drops the Rangers are wrapping up a win.