Third Straight Win in the Stars?
Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 9:05 AM PT
|After tonight, Selanne will have played 1,300 more NHL games than I have. Incredible.|
Jonas Hiller, who was injured in the first period in Sunday night's emphatic victory over Columbus, will not be available, according to Bruce Boudreau. The good news, however, is that he may ready for Thursday at Calgary (a breath of fresh air for those worried he might be out for a significant amount of time, like backup Dan Ellis).
Last night, the Ducks flew in Jeff Delauriers from Syracuse, who may get the nod tonight vs. the Stars, according to Boudreau. His call-up was announced this morning, along with the reassignment of JF Jacques, who received a three-game suspension for his elbow to the head of RJ Umberger on Sunday night.
Iiro Tarkki, of course, was called up over the weekend and got his first NHL win when he made an unexpected appearance after Hiller went down. He was summoned over Deslauriers originally because his numbers at Syracuse were better -- 2.85 goals-against average and .916 save percentage vs. 3.86 and .877 for Deslauriers.
However, Boudreau emphasized that he may go with Deslauriers because he has had past success against Dallas. Deslauriers has played 58 NHL games, all in two seasons with Edmonton, but none in the regular season since 2009-10. Two of those were starts against the Stars, in which he was 1-1-0 with a 2.89 GAA and .902 SV%.
Pete Peeters, the likeable goaltending coach for the Ducks, was working extra with both netminders at this morning's skate. He said yesterday of Tarkki being thrust in there on Sunday, “He got thrown in the frying pan and he did admirable. My hats off to him. Time change, traveling all day. I don’t know what his body was going through. I know as an older guy flying with the team through time zones, it’s tough on your body.”
Peeters also pointed out that Tarkki is not your everyday NHL rookie. "Iiro’s not like an 18-or 19-year-old,” he said. ”He’s played in the Finnish Elite League. He’s definitely made a name for himself in Europe. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable. Once you get comfortable and the confidence comes, you never know what can happen.”
Back to tonight, the Stars (ninth in the Western Conference) are on a mini roll, having won three of their last four, including a New Year's Eve win over the nearly-unbeatable Bruins at home. Seven of their last eight goals have been scored by either leading point-scorer Jamie Benn or Mike Ribeiro, who will be out tonight with an MCL strain. Meanwhile, the Stars have scored exactly four goals in each of their last four games (their only loss in that stretch a 5-4 defeat at home to Detroit).
Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who missed Dallas' last game with the flu (a win Saturday over Edmonton) is expected to go tonight. Dallas is also expected to get back big d-man Sheldon Souray, who has missed the last half dozen games with a sprained ankle.
For the Ducks, George Parros will be out with a tweaked groin, but like Hiller, could be available Thursday at Calgary, the start of a three-game Canadian jaunt in which the Ducks also visit Edmonton on Friday and Vancouver on Sunday.
And while the Ducks hope for a third straight win to end this homestand, the Stars are looking for a third straight over Anaheim this year. The Ducks fell 3-1 at home on October 21 and 5-3 in Dallas on December 19.
Tonight is also the 1,300th NHL game for Teemu Selanne, as he will become the 52nd player all-time, ninth European-born player, second Finnish-born player (Teppo Numminen), 36th forward, and ninth right wing to reach the milestone. He will also be the fourth active player to reach 1,300 games, following Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit (1,535), Roman Hamrlik of Washington (1,346) and Jaromir Jagr of Philadelphia (1,307).
Boudreau was asked about Selanne this morning, and said, "I told him today, 'Gordie Howe played until he was in his 50s, so I don't see what your problem is.'"
He added something we've all know about the Flash for years: "He's a better person than he is a player. And he's a really good player."