The Ducks managed to avoid facing either one of their in-state rivals in the first round by winning the Pacific Division and the top seed in the conference gives them a matchup against the last team to qualify for the playoffs, the Dallas Stars. Here is a series preview.
In the lone first round matchup that does not feature in-division play, the Stars actually had the Ducks’ number. They swept the season series winning all 3 games. They started off with a pair of 6-3 wins and finished off with a 2-0 shutout win.
The Stars have a solid tandem, led by the playoff inexperienced Kari Lehtonen, who has just 2 games of playoff experience in his career. He is backed up by the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas, who has been less than stellar returning after a year off.
Jonas Hiller hasn’t had the best season, but it was good enough to lead the Ducks to the conference title. He is capably backed up by rookie Frederik Andersen, who could push for the starters role next season.
There isn’t much to chose between these special teams units. There is just .1% of a difference in their respective power plays, and less than a 1% difference in their penalty kill units.
- The Stars had to fight right until the last weekend of the season to qualify and have been playing playoff hockey for a month.
- The Ducks have got career years from a number of their role players, like Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano, that have helped cover for the reduced production from Selanne and Saku Koivu.
- This is reportedly the swan song for Teemu Selanne, and the Ducks will want nothing more than to send their likeable superstar out with another Cup.
- Tyler Seguin has had a tremendous season for the Stars after his so-so playoff last season followed by his controversial departure from Boston.
Anaheim rolls in on a 4 game winning streak and are one of the hottest teams in the league, but they haven’t beat the Stars this season. However, just because they haven’t beat them doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t beat them.
Ducks in 6
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