PreGame PostUp: Dallas Stars @ Anaheim Ducks

Posted: 01/10/2012 by bc in Uncategorized

The Stakes: Dallas is in the thick of the playoff hunt. Stars sit in ninth spot but could leap all the way to sixth just by winning their games in hand. Our guys are playing for their jobs. The former is a team with a goal against 18 individuals with nothing to play for except to impress the Coach and front office. Oddly, this  dynamic could work in the Ducks favor if the individuals are committed to do whatever it takes to win.

Trending: Each is on a two game winning streak. The Stars run is built upon a stellar defense after whipping the Predators and Oilers by the identical score of 4-1. Our Ducks wins were built on resiliency. The guys didn’t cave when facing adversity. Instead, they met the challenge something they themselves and Ducks fans wondered if would ever see this season.

Keys to the Game: For our Angry Birds the buzz is play smart hockey. Keep the feet moving and the play in front of you. When the puck gets behind you, pick up your check, get in a support position and apply backside pressure. Remember, the shortest distance to their net is a straight line. Lehtonen is a butterfly goalie so you want to go upstairs on him.
Jamie Benn, named 1st in the NHL’s Stars of the Week. Benn is riding a streak of 3 consecutive multi-point games.
Some say Mike Ribeiro is playing the best hockey of his career. Ribiero lost a couple of chicklets after taking a puck to the face against Nashville. He doesn’t like pain killers. They dull the mind. “….once you skate and once you’re out there, you don’t feel the pain.” Against the Oilers, Ribeiro potted two goals after taking a knee on knee hit.

Summary: The Stars have owned us going 4-0-2 in the most recent six tilts between these clubs. This is a team that was supposed to collapse after Brad Richards left. Everybody underestimated the heart in the Stars room. And our guys? The degree of difficulty goes way up on the Islanders and Blue Jackets. Are we ready for the next level? Can we beat a team fighting for the playoffs? We all can welcome the resiliency our Ducks have shown of late. Can they do it against a team that won’t give our guys so many chances?
This is one of those rubber meets the road games.

BackCheck’s FactCheck: Seven teams have changed coaches this season. Among those, just two, Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis (21-11-4) and Darryl Sutter (6-1-3) in Los Angeles are considered successful thus far. In Columbus it’s too soon to tell.
Noteworthy is that both successful mid-season coaches have well earned reputations as no-nonsense, defense first disciplinarians.

  1. czhokej says:

    I have a good feeling that we are going to win tonight. But it will be close.

    I just need to see Getzlaf not in the corner too often, not behind the goal, but in the slot, around the crease. Not just to skate by the goal, and past the goal, but to stay in front of the goal. And not just stay there, but move there in small circles, trying to find open shooting lanes. (And I do not wish to see all three forwards being caught deep below the goal-line.) The same applies to his line-mates and other forwards: attack the net, get inside position on their Ds, push them aside, screen their goalie, fight for the rebounds and deflections. Yes, the Jackets scored two goals against us from below the goal-line, and Teemu also scored one similar to it, but that an exception.

    And one more advice for our captain: listen to the coach, he knows more about hockey than you!

  2. zseller says:

    Bellestiffsky finally finds the back of the net.
    What does this do to the projection for him for the season total???
    Do I need to put pen to check or is the TRF still sitting pretty due to Stiffers inability to light the lamp???

  3. czhokej says:

    Well, Getz did not hear me, but he was much better defensively. And twice or three times he tried to get some speed burst. So many plays of our first line are so badly designed, so badly planned. Both BR and Getz were half asleep, passing the puck back and forth behind the goal line, and back to the point, and quite often they did not show any effort to get in the net-front position when we were shooting from the point (and Getzy’s FO% was only 25%, and again only one shot on the goal, and some misses). This must be very frustrating for the coach. Fortunately, Koivu’s line played well, (and Koivu should have been our captain). He works hard, both ways, and he plays smart. I was so happy for his hat-trick. Secondary scoring helped this time (Sbisa nad Beleskey).

    zseller, I agree that Beleskey was snake-bitten, but he hustles laboriously, he exerts himself, he skates well, wins one-on-one battles quite often, and he goes to the net. His time will come.

    Some other positives: we were much more disciplined defensively, we did not take any stupid penalties, new goalie Jeff was pretty good (and lucky with 3 pipes), Cogliano’s and Blake’s speed was impressive, Hagman is getting better every game.

    • BackCheck says:

      Brian Hayward showed a clip where our Ducks crossed the Dallas blue line with speed but two forwards broke off to the perimeter instead of going to the net. Hazy’s comment was something like, “Bruce Boudreau is going to correct this in practice.”
      I dunno if the worm has turned cz but it sure feels good doe-nit?

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