NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 25th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (2-2) at Anaheim Ducks (2-2), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks hope a return to home ice for Friday's
Game 5 will be enough to stop the bleeding in their Western Conference
quarterfinal series against a feisty Dallas Stars team.
Anaheim, champions of the Pacific Division and the top-seed in the West,
claimed a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven set with wins in Games 1 and 2 in
Orange County. However, the Ducks were shut out, 3-0, in Monday's meeting in
Dallas and the Stars then evened the series at two games apiece with
Wednesday's 4-2 home decision.
The Ducks hope getting back inside the Honda Center, where the club boasted a
29-8-4 record during the regular season, will put them back on the right
"It's a best of three right now," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said after the
Game 4 loss. "We fought awfully hard this year to get home ice advantage, and
I think we had the second best home record in the league, so we're going home
and we're going to be glad to be home."
If home-ice advantage doesn't work, however, Anaheim could be headed for its
second straight upset loss in the opening round of the playoffs. The Ducks
were seeded second in the West last spring only to fall in seven games to the
Detroit Red Wings in Round 1.
Anaheim led the Stars 2-0 after the first period on Wednesday before Dallas
scored four unanswered goals to knot the series at 2-2. The Stars scored twice
in the second period to even the game and Cody Eakin provided the eventual
game-winner at 6:22 of the third. Alex Goligoski scored 82 seconds after Eakin
to arrive at the final margin of victory.
Vernon Fiddler had a goal and an assist for the Stars, while captain Jamie
Benn also scored in the victory. Kari Lehtonen, who made 37 saves to anchor a
2-0 win in Game 3, stopped 21-of-23 shots to post the victory on Wednesday.
"It is obviously what we wanted," Benn said. "It wasn't fun being down 2-0,
they won their home games and we won ours, the next one is going to be huge,
it's going to be hard to win. They are a good team in their own barn and we
want to find a way to keep this thing going."
Bryan Allen and Patrick Maroon scored for the Ducks. Frederik Andersen turned
aside 21-of-25 shots before being pulled in the third period for Jonas Hiller.
Hiller could make his 21st career playoff start on Friday. The 32-year-old
Swiss netminder entered this season as Anaheim's No. 1 option in net, but a
rough patch in the latter stages of 2013-14 prompted Boudreau to go with the
rookie Andersen as the starter heading into the playoffs.
Andersen has a 3.17 goals against average and .898 save percentage in his
first NHL postseason. Hiller boasts a 2.29 GAA and .935 save percentage over
21 career playoff games.
Boudreau wasn't revealing his Game 5 starter on Thursday.
"It was important (Hiller) played," Boudreau said. "Whether he's going to
start tomorrow, it was important that he's already seen playoff ice and not
coming in blind."
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne, who is playing his final NHL season, was a
healthy scratch for Game 4, but the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer could be
re-inserted into the lineup on Friday.
Although Anaheim lost defenseman Stephane Robidas for the season due to a
fractured right leg suffered in Game 3, the Ducks carry an even bigger injury
concern into Game 5 with the uncertain status of forward Ryan Getzlaf.
Anaheim's captain missed Wednesday's game with an unspecified upper-body
injury and his availability for Game 5 is unclear. On Thursday, Getzlaf said
he was confident his team can get by without him in the lineup, but also was
hopeful he could play in tonight's game .
"We have guys who have stepped up and played big roles during the year, and we
may need that tomorrow again," said Getzlaf. "But hopefully I can play
Getzlaf finished second to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby in the NHL scoring race
this season, recording 87 points on 31 goals and 56 assists. Despite missing
Game 4, Getzlaf is leading Anaheim in both goals (2) and assists (2) in this
series. The 28-year-old centerman has 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) over 72
career postseason games.
The Stars are hoping to get defenseman Brenden Dillon into the lineup Friday
for the first time in this series. Dillon, who has been sidelined with a
lower-body issue, is questionable for Game 5. The 23-year-old blueliner had
six goals and 11 assists over 80 games during the regular season, but has
never skated in an NHL playoff game.
Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Sunday in Dallas. If needed, a decisive
seventh meeting will be hosted by Anaheim on Tuesday.
04/25 10:47:22 ET