The Stars finish up a five-game home stand tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, who currently hold second place in the Western Conference. The night kicks off the first of three consecutive games for the two teams, and continues what will be a six-game inter-division competition for the Stars. Tonight’s match is the only game of the three that will be played at American Airlines Center.
The Stars are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Kings that highlighted many of the weak spots in the Stars’ game. The Ducks are also coming off a loss last night, falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime.
The night may prove to be fairly matched despite the vast separation in the number of positions between the teams. Anaheim has struggled as of late, winning only a single game in the last seven played. The Stars also have a favorable track record against the Ducks, going 5-0-2 in their last seven meetings. In their previous two meetings this season, the Stars have come out with at least a point, a victory in February and a shootout loss in March.
Jonas Hiller has been one of the strongest facets of the Ducks, allowing only 2.49 goals per game while the Stars and Kari Lehtonen sit right at 3.00 per game. Lehtonen will undoubtedly continue being the backbone of the Stars, despite facing 40 shots on goal last night against the Kings.
Jamie Benn will likely be a key forward tonight with the Stars. Benn has notched seven points in the last five games, including a goal in the last two games. Ray Whitney has also been on a point streak, scoring in the past two games also, and landing two assists in the last three.
Emerson Etem was last night’s only goal-scorer for the Ducks in Columbus, making him the most viable threat in tonight’s game. Cory Perry will still be a force to be reckoned with, scoring two goals in the last five games, including Anaheim’s victory over the Blackhawks on Friday. The Stars will have to keep an eye on both Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf, who scored the first and winning shootout goals against the Stars last month.
Lehtonen will be the likely starter in net for the Stars, and it’s possible Ducks Viktor Fasth will get his first career start against Dallas in tonight’s match.
The first puck drops tonight at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.