Dallas Stars: 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs

Despite 2-0 lead, Ducks need faster starts

April, 20, 2014
DALLAS -- Ryan Getzlaf, his face still beat up, sat at his locker in the visiting dressing room at American Airlines Center and made it clear that, despite a 2-0 series lead, he believes the Anaheim Ducks can and must play better.

"We have to play with the puck a little bit better,” said Getzlaf, who had a goal and an assist in the same week his family welcomed a baby girl. “I thought that last game we turned it over a little bit more than we’re used to, and we let them come at us at the start of the game as opposed to starting on time. That’s kind of our main focus is to get going here at the drop of the puck."

Monday provides a great opportunity for the Ducks to take firm control of the series and attempt to decrease the decibel level of what’s expected to be a raucous home crowd for the Dallas Stars, who haven’t played in the postseason in Dallas since 2008.

"We’ve got to come out strong," said defenseman Stephane Robidas, who played most of the season in Dallas before being traded to Anaheim. "The fans here are going to be pumped. Everyone will be wearing 'Victory Green.' It’s going to be a really good atmosphere."

And that’s something that doesn’t seem to faze the Ducks. Anaheim had 26 road wins, second in the league to only the Colorado Avalanche. Playing in someone else’s building hasn’t bugged them at all.

"I think we play the same way," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said following Anaheim’s practice on Sunday afternoon. "We don’t deviate from how we play. There are no valleys and not a lot of peaks. When you play that way, it’s usually a successful tour for you."

The immediate goal on Monday will be to avoid a struggling first period. Anaheim watched as the Stars came out as the aggressors and got an early 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of Game 2. The Ducks took advantage of Stars mistakes and wrestled the lead back, eventually winning a one-goal game. But they expect a similar Stars push in Game 3.

"I thought we sat back," Getzlaf said. "The first 10 minutes of the hockey game, we were waiting to see what they were going to do. They came out swinging. I think we were being outshot 9-1 at one point. Those are things we’ll address."

Robidas knows that the Ducks will get the Stars’ best effort.

"They’re going to come out really hard," Robidas said. "It’s a team that never quits. I’ve been with that team for most of the year, and they never quit. It doesn’t matter what the score is, they have guys with a lot of pride on the other side, lots of skill and they won’t quit. There’s a reason they made the playoffs. They found a way to make it, and you’ve got to give them credit."

The Ducks say they’ll be ready. The plan: take control of the series with a chance to end it in Anaheim, if necessary. To do that, they need a win in Game 3 or 4.

Rapid Reaction: Ducks 3, Stars 2

April, 19, 2014
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here's a quick look at the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal at Honda Center on Friday.

How it happened: The Ducks pinned the Stars in their end for a solid 2½ minutes late in the second period, taking advantage of the aging legs of almost-42-year-old Ray Whitney and just-turned-40 Sergei Gonchar. The Stars finally got the puck out of their end and managed to keep the pressure on the Ducks for a stretch, but Tyler Seguin made an errant pass across Dallas' blue line to Jamie Benn, who was drifting away from the puck. Benn could only tip the rubber as it skidded in front of him, not enough to prevent Corey Perry from swooping in and taking possession with a full head of steam motoring toward the Dallas goal. Trevor Daley was between Perry and Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, and that probably made Perry even more determined -- in the first period, Daley straddled Perry as he laid on his back in the Dallas crease and got off a few blows before he was banished to the penalty box. Perry cocked and blasted the puck from just inside the right circle, past Lehtonen on the stick side for a 2-1 lead the Ducks would not relinquish.

What it means: The Ducks had to hold off some late pressure from the Stars -- including a power play that began with three minutes left, giving Dallas a two-man advantage for the final 30 seconds when it pulled its goalie -- but Anaheim owns its first 2-0 series lead since the opening round of the 2009 playoffs against the San Jose Sharks and has won two straight playoff games for the first time since winning Games 2 and 3 of the following series against the Detroit Red Wings, a series the Ducks would eventually lose in seven games.

Player of the game: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf had an interesting 48 hours leading up to Game 2. He took a puck to the upper chin in the final seconds of Wednesday’s victory in the series opener, which opened a gaping wound that required numerous stitches. He then spent most of Thursday night and early Friday in the hospital, as his third child was born just before 1 a.m. local time. Neither experience proved too much for Getzlaf, who took the ice Friday night and started things off with a big hit on Alex Goligoski in the opening 30 seconds. He later came through with an unassisted goal in the opening period, which tied the score at one, about 30 seconds after Daley had escaped the box following his roughing penalty on Perry. Getzlaf also assisted on Andrew Cogliano’s short-handed goal in the third period, which gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead.

Stat of the game: Perry, one of only two NHL players with at least 20 goals at home during the regular season, scored the 19th playoff goal of his career -- but first since April 20, 2011 -- in Game 4 against the Nashville Predators.

What’s next: The series moves on to Dallas, where the Stars will host the Ducks in Game 3 on Monday. Anaheim will be looking to take its first 3-0 series lead since the opening round of their Stanley Cup championship run in 2007.