Playoff Threeview: Dallas & Anaheim

by J.R.

WC2. Stars 40-31-11 (91 points, 5th in Conference III) vs. Pac1. Ducks (54-20-8, 116 points, 1st in Pacific)

Season Series— Stars 2-1

LeadersStars: Tyler Seguin (37G, 47A, 84 Points, 11 PPG, 8 GWG), Antoine Roussel (209 PIMs), Jamie Benn (54.8 FenClose%); Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf (31G, 56A, 87 Points), Corey Perry (43G, 9 PPG, 8 GWG), Francois Beauchemin (58.8% Shorthanded Time)

Probable Goalies: Stars: Kari Lehtonen (33-20-10, .919, 2.41); Ducks: Frederick Andersen (20-5-0, .923, 2.29)

Words & Music

“There’s things that I know, but it’s up to the players on the ice. They really did me a favor to give me a chance to play for a Stanley Cup when they didn’t know if they were going to make the playoffs. There’s no hard feelings, but they know I really want to beat them.” – Ducks defenseman (and former Star) Stephane Robidas to the Associated Press.

In honor of Dallas swapping back into the Pacific Division for the playoffs, LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali”:

 

Locks & Keys

Conference III’s lone California Invasion of the first round has the potential to be the most aesthetically pleasing of any Western Conference playoff series. Both the Ducks and Stars play high-speed, up-tempo hockey and goals should be on offer.

Both teams rely on their own dynamic duos of forwards. The Ducks are led by Squishy and Baldy; the Stars by Walt and Jesse.

Another interesting match-up to watch will be between Teemu Selanne and Ray Whitney (the thinking man’s Teemu Selanne). If the two senior citizens are on the ice simultaneously, the mean age of the players in the game will instantly increase by 13 years (#fancystats).

Ultimately, this one may be decided by which head of Bruce Boudreau’s goalie hydra is ready to go. He’s already intimated that Andersen will start tonight, though one would think he’d prefer Jonas Hiller, especially if Andersen struggles. He wouldn’t be alone among Pacific Division goalies against these Stars, who whipped their old foes with a record of 14-3-4 against their former division this season.

Fancy-stat wise, you have to like the Stars. The Ducks PDOed a 102.2 with a 9.7 shooting percentage at evens, both big figures likely to regress. Meanwhile, the Stars PDO was a much more moderate 100.1. The Ducks have been a Fenwick rollercoaster; Dallas’ hot finish had some PDO help. The Stars, though, pip the Ducks in the season FenClose department, besting Anaheim 51.9 to 50.1 over 82 games.

Call & Response

As mentioned yesterday, I like the Stars in five, much as it pains me.  American hero Chris Peters at CBS likes the Ducks in six.

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