By Kyle Shohara
We’re hours away from a pivotal Game 3, as the Ducks and Stars clash in Game 3 tonight at American Airlines Center (TV: LA56 KDOC-TV, NBC Sports Network | Radio: 710 KSPN).
If the first two games were any indication of how this series will play out, you can expect another hard-checking, tight contest that will come down to the wire. The Ducks haven’t fared well in Dallas over the years, having lost four consecutive games at American Airlines Center. Anaheim dropped its only game in Dallas this season, 6-3. All-time (regular season), the Ducks are 12-33-7 in Dallas.
But the playoffs are a different beast, and the Ducks will approach tonight’s game as they’ve approached every game this season. “Quite frankly, all we’ve done is hold serve,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “There’s a great saying that says you’re not leading a series until you win a game on the other’s teams’ home ice. With us, let’s just take this one game at a time.”
The news coming out of Dallas yesterday was the recall of Emerson Etem from Norfolk of the American Hockey League. In addition, the Ducks reassigned John Gibson and Sami Vatanen to Norfolk. Mark Fistric also returned from his Long-Term Injury Conditioning Loan with the Admirals and is with the Ducks in Dallas.
Etem recorded 11 points (7g/4a) in 29 games with the Ducks this season. “I think I know what [Boudreau] wants from me,” he said. “That’s being first on the forecheck and providing energy for the guys.”
The 21-year-old was one of Anaheim’s best players in last year’s seven-game series with Detroit. Etem co-led the Ducks in goals (3), ranked tied for third in points (5) and tied for second in plus-minus (+4).
He also emerged as a dominant player in the AHL this season, helping the Admirals secure a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. In 50 games, Etem collected 54 points (24g/30a) and led all active skaters in goals, points and assists. “Offensively, I built a lot more confidence and hopefully I’ll take it into these playoffs,” he said.
ANDERSEN TO START
Frederik Andersen will get his third consecutive start in this series. The 24-year-old goaltender is 2-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Andersen became the youngest goaltender in Ducks history to appear in a postseason game at 24 years and 196 days, the third rookie goaltender in club history to play in a playoff game (Tom Askey, 1999; Ilya Bryzgalov, 2006) and the first rookie goaltender to win his playoff debut.
LONG TIME COMING
Stars fans haven’t seen postseason hockey on home ice since the 2008 playoffs when their team made it to the Western Conference Final against Detroit. They lost that series in six games, and they’ve had to endure mediocre seasons ever since. But it figures to be an electric atmosphere inside American Airlines Center tonight, and Ducks forward Nick Bonino says they’ll be feeling it.
“The crowd will be into it, so I’m sure they’ll be physical again,” Bonino said. “We have to respond. Playoff series get harder as they go along. If we want to get a three-game series lead, we’ve got to play a lot better than we did [in Game 2].”
FOLLOW MY LEAD
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf enters Game 3 ranked tied for third among playoff leaders in points (2g/2a) and plus/minus (+4), and tied for fourth in goals. Getzlaf has points in his last three postseason games (dating to 2013) and has recorded consecutive multi-point games for the first time since May 1-3, 2009 (1-4=5) vs. Detroit.
The Ducks are 9-1 all-time when Getzlaf and Corey Perry score in the same playoff game. Since dropping a 5-3 decision in Game 3 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final on June 2 at Ottawa, Anaheim has won nine consecutive playoff games with Getzlaf and Perry scoring. In those nine wins, the team has outscored its opponents, 38-19. Perry and Getzlaf scored in the same game 13 times in the regular season, tied for the most by a duo with Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (Elias Sports Bureau).
For those interested in watching tonight’s game with fellow Ducks fans, head to Tilted Kilt of Orange (1625 W. Katella Ave, Orange, CA 92867) for an Official Ducks Watch Party. Enjoy great food and drinks, intermission trivia and the opportunity to win player autographed items.
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