Anaheim Ducks (54-20-8) at Dallas Stars (40-31-11)
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 23, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Dallas Stars -117 / Anaheim Ducks +106 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Stars look to even things up after a huge game three victory on Monday as they host the Ducks in Dallas for game four.
The Anaheim Ducks suffered their first loss of the 2014 playoffs in Dallas on Monday night and non-coincidentally it happened to come on the road where the Western Conference leaders were the most susceptible. The Ducks held the Stars off in both of the games in Anaheim to open the series but they weren’t by any means dominant in either contest and they were shut down completely in the offensive zone in what was a fantastic game by the Dallas Stars to pull them within a game. Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was the recipient of some seemingly unsportsmanlike physicality as some members of the Stars were going after Getzlaf’s protective cage that was put in place after taking a puck to the face in game one but this is the postseason and anything you can do within the confines of the rules to gain an edge is encouraged by most coaches. The Ducks also lost former Stars blue liner Stephane RObidas who re-fractured his leg in the game three loss and while he hasn’t been a part of the Ducks for long he is certainly a big loss moving forward.
Dallas played a perfect game on Monday to get themselves back in the series with Anaheim as their momentum and motivation from two tough losses carried over to a 3-0 shutout over one of the league’s top teams. The Stars have some firepower up front in the form of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin but some of their role players have been stepping up and if their secondary scoring continues to produce than the Stars could find themselves heading back to the Pond on even terms. Kari Lehtonen recorded his first career playoff shutout and he will certainly be back between the pipes here for Dallas but If Lehtonen goes down or performs poorly they have the luxury of leaning on Tim Thomas who won a Stanley Cup with Boston a few years ago and was integral in the team’s success. While the Ducks are the favourite to win the series I think they’re a completely overrated team that lacks offensive depth beyond their top line and with the energy being very high at the American Airlines I expect the Stars to continue moving forward and even the series.