Dallas Stars (+167) at Anaheim Ducks (-186, 5.5 o/u)
The Anaheim Ducks (50-23-7, 107 pts) have already clinched the Pacific Division title. Tonight, they will look to claim top spot in the Western Conference with a win over the Dallas Stars (39-31-10, 88 pts) at the Honda Center (10:30 PM Eastern).
The Ducks currently have a two-point lead over the St. Louis Blues in the West. But they had a four-game win streak snapped by the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, giving up three unanswered goals to fall 4-2. Jiri Sekac and Rickard Rackell both scored their ninth goals of the season in the loss.
The Ducks outshot Colorado 37-23 on Friday, but failed to convert on three powerplay chances. (The Avs, meanwhile, went 1-4 with the man-advantage.)
With ample time off since their last game, Anaheim has been able to tweak several areas of its game, including the powerplay.
“We worked on a lot the last few days, a lot of systems things we did, special teams, things you don’t have an opportunity to do like we have during the season,” center Nate Thompson said. “We gotta take the positives out of it, we got a nice break and some good practice time and it’ll help us going into these games.”
Tonight, the Ducks will put their revamped systems to work against the Dallas Stars, who were recently eliminated from playoff contention. Despite being out of the postseason chase, the Stars remain a dangerous team, averaging a Western Conference-leading 3.1 GPG. But the defense has been virtually non-existent all year for Dallas, which gives up 3.2 goals against per night.
“We thought we could outscore teams but we didn’t play the way we should have,” Stars left winger and leading scorer Jamie Benn said of the team’s season. “It’s defense first and that’s where we let down. We didn’t play defense.”
The offense and defense both played well in the Stars’ last game as they smashed the San Jose Sharks 5-1 on Monday. Benn led the way with two goals and an assist while Jason Spezza chipped in with two helpers.
Dallas has not fared well against the conference-leading Ducks, though, losing the last four head-to-head. There isn’t a ton of value in Anaheim -186, but both teams light the lamp with regularity, so consider the over (5.5).
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_6077) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)