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Looking to the Stars

Winners in eight of their last nine, the Ducks meet Dallas on Friday for the first time since last season's Western Conference Quarterfinals

Thursday, 11.6.2008 / 3:20 PM PT / Features
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Looking to the Stars
By Matt Vevoda

"We fell short of where we wanted to be," Marchant said of losing to Dallas in last year's playoffs. "As a result, we had a longer summer than we wanted to. I think that's the motivation."
It’s been more than six months since they last met and while the seasons for the Ducks and Stars are currently going in different directions, there is still plenty of anticipation for their matchup Friday night at Honda Center.

Despite holding home-ice advantage in the Western Conference Quarterfinals series with Dallas, the Ducks fell in six games and were sent on their longest summer away from the ice in three seasons. Though a new campaign is underway for Anaheim and the team is focused on continuing its winning ways regardless of the opponent, there is still some lingering thoughts on what may have been last April.

“We fell short of where we wanted to be,” said Todd Marchant after Thursday’s practice. “It took us three games to finally get into the series and by that time it was too late. And still we had a chance. You go look back on the series, going into the third period of Game 6 in Dallas we had a 1-0 lead and 20 minutes to get to a Game 7. We didn’t take advantage of it. As a result, we had a longer summer than we wanted to. I think that’s the motivation.”

To start the 2008-09 season, it seemed both teams were stuck in neutral as they combined for a 3-8-1 record (Ducks 1-5-0; Stars 2-3-1) through their first six games. But the Ducks have gone into overdrive since with a league-best 8-0-1 mark in their last nine. Stuck at 4-6-2 and 14th in the Western Conference, the Stars are stilling waiting for that jumpstart.

“They are a good team,” said Jean-Sebastien Giguere, expected to start in goal tomorrow night. “They are looking for their game right now. It’s always a tough game against Dallas. I think we should be ready.”

What has undeniably helped the Ducks turnaround has been the play of their top forward line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz. After totaling all of two points between them in six games to start the year, the trio has dramatically rebounded for 43 points since.

Aided by Getzlaf’s 18 points on the season (tied for first in the league) and Perry’s 17 (tied for second), the Ducks now rank first in the league in goals for with 48.

“They are leading our team,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is a huge bonus for us. They are the group that when they play their game and when things start to turn around for them, they are quite capable of putting offensive statistics up on the board.”

"I think as a team we'e played much better defensively," Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "If we play a very tight defensive type of game, we have the fire power to score three goals every game if we want to."
Although he has to watch their offensive output from the other end of the rink, Giguere is more than impressed with what he is seeing from the line.

“These guys have all the talent in the world,” Giguere said. “They have the size, speed, toughness and skills. Nothing can stop them if they want. Right now things are clicking for them and it’s good for the rest of the team because we can take advantage of that.”

Over the last three games, the Ducks defense has started to make just as much progress. In wins over Calgary, Los Angeles and St. Louis, the team has only surrendered a total of four goals. It’s an achievement the Ducks hope to continue as they try to rise from their current position of 28th in goals against.

“I think as a team we’ve played much better defensively,” Giguere said. “It’s a whole lot more fun playing that way for everybody than to not know what the score is going to be at the end of the game. If we play a very tight defensive type of game, we have the fire power to score three goals every game if we want to.”

While appreciative of the success his team has seen recently, Carlyle continues to preach there is a higher peak that can still be reached. “I think we can improve on our work ethic and we can move our feet more,” Carlyle said. “When we’re moving consistently, we’re a hard team to play against. I don’t think you can say that we’ve done that for 60 full minutes yet.”

Notes: George Parros (eye) and Brad May (knee) took part in practice on Thursday at Honda Center. Carlyle indicated that both will be game-time decisions against the Stars. Prior to their injuries, the duo was shining on the energy line with a total of seven points to go along with their always demonstrated physical play.




1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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