Tonight the Dallas Stars get one more chance to get back on track before the All-Star break, and they will have to do it against one of their biggest rivals. The Anaheim Ducks roll into Dallas tonight as the two Pacific division rivals will play their final game before the week long break. While the Ducks are coming into the game on fire ( 8-0-1 in their last nine), the Stars are coming in on a five-game losing streak (0-4-1). In the midst of that skid, the Stars have fallen behind in the Pacific division race and are now just trying to stay in the playoff race in the West. Picking up two points tonight and going into the break on a high note could be a huge boost for the team.
Mike Ribeiro will make his return to the lineup tonight after missing seven games with an MCL tear. While Ribeiro and Jamie Benn were both out of the lineup, the Stars struggled to create offense nightly. In their last five games the team has scored six goals and of course not won a single game. While they gave up five goals to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, they limited the other four teams in that stretch to only seven goals if you take out the shootout “goal” the Red Wings got.
But with Ribs returning, the Stars will play tonight without Benn and captain Brenden Morrow. Morrow is back on the IR with a “neck” injury and nothing is really known as far as to his timeline after the break. Because of that, youngster Matt Fraser will make his NHL debut tonight. The 21-year old winger has 21 goals so far this season in the AHL with the Texas Stars and he scored two goals in three games during the preseason for Dallas. While he will play on the 4th line probably, it will be interesting to see him in action with the big club. Don’t expect him to stay up with the team for long, but he could be seeing more time or some permanent stints as early as next season. On the other hand, the Ducks are only really without back-up goalie (and former Stars player) Dan Ellis currently. Along with their recent rise back into respectability, they have a pretty healthy roster right now.
Puck drops at 7:30 CST tonight from the AAC. Should be another fun one in downtown, as Stars vs Ducks games are always fun to take in and full of energy. Tune in to Fox Sports SW or 1310AM The Ticket if you can’t make it out. Don’t forget to show up early if you are coming though, as it is Steve Ott bobblehead night, and I won’t let you have mine if you show up late.