Ducks look to put aside struggles, solve Stars
STARS (13-8-8) at DUCKS (10-13-6)
Last 10 -- Stars (5-3-2); Ducks (4-4-2)
Season series -- Dallas has won both meetings this season by a combined 7-3 score. The Stars are 13-3-4 in their last 20 regular season meetings with Anaheim dating back to 2006-07-- including a 4-2 victory in Anaheim on Oct. 21. Dallas went 2-0-1 in Anaheim last season and is 9-3-4 in the regular season at the Honda Center over the last five seasons.
Big Story -- The Stars have gone to overtime a League-leading 11 times this season. Unfortunately, they've only won three games that have gone beyond regulation and are 1-6 in shootouts. The club begins a five-game road trip in Anaheim, which sits a disappointing last in the Western Conference standings with a 10-13-6 record (26 points). The Stars are eighth in the conference with 13 wins and 34 points.
Stars -- Forward James Neal has scored goals in consecutive games after going five contests without a point. He fired a game-high seven shots, scored once and was named the game's first star in a 3-2 loss to the Oilers on Saturday. The second-year forward leads the team with 13 goals this season. Coach Marc Crawford has been concerned with the team's inconsistency -- the club has won back-to-back games only twice, going 2-6-5 after a victory.
"If you're being truthful, there are elements of our game that have to continue to improve," Crawford said. "Our puck movement has to become a staple of this team. That's the way the game is right now. If you move the puck, you skate the puck and you do good things offensively with the puck, you're going to be a very good club."
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who each average over 20 minutes a night, are having extremely productive seasons despite the fact the Ducks rank last in the Pacific Division. Getzlaf recorded his second consecutive multi-point game and ninth of the season in a loss to the Senators on Sunday. He's earned points in five of the last six games and in 18 of the last 21 (6 goals, 32 points). Since Nov. 1, Getzlaf leads the NHL in scoring (24 points). Perry has a 15-game point-scoring streak on home ice (7 goals, 21 points) -- dating back to Oct. 21 against Dallas. He has points in 21 of the last 22 games overall (11 goals, 29 points).
Who's Hot --
Even though Dallas captain Brenden Morrow
saw his career-high goal-scoring streak end at five in a loss to the Oilers on Saturday, his assist on Jamie Benn's
goal extended his point-scoring streak to seven (5 goals, 2 assists).
Injury Report --
Dallas hopes to get defenseman Karlis Skrastins
(lacerated finger) back in the lineup against Anaheim. … Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne is out 4-to-6 weeks after suffering a broken bone in his left hand Thursday against Dallas.
Stat Pack --
The Stars have successfully killed 18 of their last 20 penalty-killing situations spanning a seven-game stretch. … After missing seven games due to injury, Ducks forward Joffrey Lupul has scored three goals in his last two games. He recorded his 100th point (50 goals, 50 assists) as a Duck in a loss to Ottawa on Sunday.
Puck Drop --
Both teams are in need of points. Eight of Anaheim's last 10 games have been one-goal decisions, and one other would have been a one-goal game except for an empty-net goal at the end. At this point, the struggling Ducks need to find more secondary scoring beyond Getlzlaf and Perry.