Dallas Stars vs Anaheim Ducks
7:30pm CT: American Airlines Center
How to Watch: Bally Sports Southwest Extra, ESPN+
After playing on the road for what felt like all of the first two months of the season, the Dallas Stars return to Big D to begin a five-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
Dallas is coming off one of their most impressive performances, a 4-1 victory over the Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday.
The game was a perfect example of overcoming adversity, receiving contributions from all four lines, and putting constant pressure on the opponent for 60 minutes. It flashed us back to the first couple weeks of the season and is something that the Stars will work to replicate at home.
“The most important part of the game was how we won,” Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “Defended well, didn’t give up a lot around our net, had patience and composure to our game on the road against a real good team where we stuck with it, and I thought wore them out as the game went on.
“And when we had the lead, we extended it. We capitalized on them pushing hard for a goal in the third period. On the road against a good team, that’s the formula you have to have.”
The formula has not always been the prettiest. But the results have spoken for themselves. After 23 games, the Stars sit atop the Central Division and are second overall in the Western Conference.
For DeBoer and the Stars, it is not always about the perfect formula.
The NHL is a league in which any team can win on any given night. It is also one that plays a busy 82-game schedule that requires loads of travel and long days. The grind can be especially challenging when you are forced to travel much further like Dallas is.
So amidst all of the chaos, the key to becoming and remaining an elite team is not about playing the perfect game, it is about finding each and every way to win on a consistent basis.
“Over an 82-game schedule, you are going to get all kinds of different games,” DeBoer said. “You’re going to get games when you have no energy and you dig deep for a period and find a way to win. You’re going to have good 60-minute efforts because you’re energized and you’re desperate. You’ve got to ride that roller coaster all year.”
Starting goaltender: Jake Oettinger will return to the net after being pulled prior to warmups due to an illness on Tuesday in St. Louis. Oettinger is 8-2-3 with a .917 save percentage this season.
Reverse Retro Overload: Both the Stars and Ducks will be sporting their Reverse Retro jerseys on Thursday.
Stars Projected Lines
- Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
- Mason Marchment – Radek Faksa – Tyler Seguin
- Jamie Benn – Wyatt Johnston – Ty Dellandrea
- Joel Kiviranta – Luke Glendening – Denis Gurianov
- Ryan Suter – Miro Heiskanen
- Joel Hanley – Colin Miller
- Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
- Jake Oettinger
- Scott Wedgewood
Ducks Scouting Report
The Anaheim Ducks have had a very tough start to the season.
They sit last in the NHL with a 6-15-2 record and did not record their first regulation victory until Nov. 23. That remains their only regulation win of the season.
But as we discussed above, any team can win on any night in this league. And DeBoer is not overlooking Anaheim in this matchup.
“They’ve got a real good skill level,” he said. “When you look at the analytics, [they are] a real good forecheck team and they can create off the forecheck. They’ve got some players that if you give them room and time or turn the puck over, they can make you pay.”
Troy Terry leads the Ducks with 10 goals and 24 points while the human highlight-reel Trevor Zegras is right behind with eight goals and 20 points in 23 games.