PreGame PostUp: Anaheim @ Dallas

Posted: 03/23/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

The Skinny: Tonight’s tilt has two very different themes. For Anaheim it’s all about carpe diem, seize the day. For Dallas the question is can they gut out a win in what is easily the single most important game of the season.

The Injuries: Leading scorer Loui Eriksson is at best day-to-day. Injuries to Niklas Grossman (knee) and Karlis Skrastins (lacerated thigh) has forced Dallas to pluck former Shark and Canuck Brad Lukowich off waivers. Stars also have a chunk of their grit in the infirmary with Adam Burish (lower body) and Brian Sutherby (back spasms.) On our Ducks side of the puck Jonas Hiller is showing enough improvement to join the team on this three game road trip.The Stakes: The Pacific Division rivals are tied in points with ten games left and the tie breakers favoring our Ducks. Obviously this game is a season changer. In terms of importance PlayoffStatus.com rates the game as a 24, on a scale of 1-100. Poster ffe155 found this site and it is impressive though I haven’t examined their methodology as yet.

Tangibles v. Intangibles: For Anaheim, the challenge and the opportunity is to go out and impose their will physically on the Stars. Our Ducks also have to be very smart about it. No cheap stuff. The Refs also know Dallas is hurting and the tendency will be to call it close. More than just on the forecheck and attempted open ice checks in the neutral zone, our Ducks really need to step up and play the body better than they’ve shown all season. Too often our guys play the puck first and the opponent second. We need to reverse that and take the man first. This also requires a guy in support to pick up the loose puck.

For a banged up Dallas team it’s all about the intangibles. Morrow, Daley and Ott are tough as nails but the Stars are missing a chunk of grit as noted in the injury report. Beware the wounded bear. Hockey teams are often most dangerous when facing increased adversity. Look for Dallas to raise the tempo as guys like Richards and Ribeiro bring the flash and dash.

Anaheim is no longer the speed challenged team it was even as recently as Thanksgiving. Beauchemin & Sbisa have added some quickness to the back line. Sexton, Winchester and Rutuu are faster than the players they replaced up front.

You can no longer beat our Ducks by simply out skating them. These Ducks can skate with anybody.

The advantages are with our guys. In a playoff run you just never know though. Kari Lehtonen could always steal a game. Any player is capable of having his best game of the season. If not for some heroics by Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne some depth forward named Tom Kostoupolis would have been the hero last Sunday.

Go Ducks!

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