The Anaheim Ducks easily handled the Dallas Stars in the first of three consecutive matchups earlier this week. This time, the Pacific Division leaders will face a team that just dealt away two of its leading scorers.
The Ducks will try to take advantage of those absences to snap a three-game home losing streak and earn their third straight win over the Stars on Wednesday night.
The Ducks (24-7-5) used Viktor Fasth's 26 saves and three second-period goals for a 4-0 victory in Dallas on Monday. The next day, the Stars traded leading scorer Jaromir Jagr to Boston and sent Derek Roy to Vancouver.
"The overriding factor was that this team, I felt, needed to be altered in order for us to move forward as an organization looking ahead,' general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "The ability to acquire some young kids and some good draft picks in a deep draft was a big factor."
At the time of those trades, Dallas (16-16-3) was only three points out of playoff position but now will likely have to rely on younger players to avoid missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season. The Stars got 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Connauton and a second-round draft pick from Vancouver, and two prospects and another draft pick from Boston.
"This is by no means closing the door on this season. To make the playoffs, that is still the goal," Nieuwendyk said. "These young kids, they want to show what they have.
"Sometimes when you have that type of attitude, a team can come closer and I expect that we'll play hard, we'll challenge and we'll get a good look at our young kids."
Dallas will try to use its revamped lineup to earn its fourth win in five visits to Anaheim and avoid a third straight overall defeat. The Stars, though, are making their first visit to the Honda Center this season after playing the previous four games in the series in Dallas.
The visit from the Stars opens a five-game homestand for Anaheim, which trails Western Conference-leading Chicago by four points.
The Ducks will try to get another strong performance from its top line of captain Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. The three combined for two goals and three assists Monday.
Perry's goal was his third in five games and Getzlaf's two assists snapped an eight-game point drought against Dallas. Ryan's goal, meanwhile, represented only the third in Anaheim's last 33 power-play opportunities.
"I think we did a lot of good things tonight," said Ryan, who had scored just once in his previous 11 contests. "The guys were committed to the overall 60-minute effort."
Dallas doesn't appear primed to stop the Ducks as it's allowed a combined 17 goals during a 1-3-0 stretch.
Loui Eriksson and defenseman Alex Goligoski will try to lead their club to a win while continuing their success against Anaheim.
Eriksson's 15 goals and 31 points against Anaheim are tied for the most versus any opponent over his career. Goligoski's five goals against the Ducks are the most versus any opponent in his career and his 13 points are tied for the most.
Dallas and Anaheim conclude their three-game set Friday night.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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