Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stars head for home two up and in control

Anaheim began game two on Saturday night with a determination that had been missing in game one; they crashed, bashed and kept the play flowing for minutes at a time. They came over the boards flying, taking the play to the Stars and threatening to make amends for their game one miscues.

Normally that intense approach is a recipe for success at the Honda Centre, but Saturday that pace couldn’t be maintained as the Stars refused to yield to the traditional Duck game plan.

Turnovers in the neutral zone proved costly for the Ducks, one early on in the third lead to the opening goal for the Stars, one of five on the night for Dallas who took the first two games of the quarterfinal from Anaheim.

Dallas weathered an Anaheim comeback bid in the third, as they allowed the Ducks to draw to a tie but returned the favour in a third period that put the game away for good for the Stars.

The Ducks have not been able to recapture the form that propelled them to a Stanley Cup victory last season, instead their overuse at times of the physical play has resulted in costly penalties, while unable it seems to control the Stars speed and transition play they are spending too much time in their own end trying to get the puck away from the revitalized Stars.

Playoff disappointment has been a Dallas staple the last few years, but with a 2-0 lead in the series and two games to come at home, they must surely be set to play with a lot more confidence heading into game three than perhaps many of their fans might have had for them for game one.

In the first five minutes the Ducks threw their best at the Stars, reprising that effort again in the second period, however, it’s what took place in the rest of the game that dictated the outcome and for Dallas it was the ability to shut down the key elements of the Ducks attack. Penalties as well have proven to be a Duck downfall, as the third period slipped away from Anaheim the parade of Ducks to the penalty box began, snuffing out any chance of a comeback to salvage the opening games with a split.

Two nights in a row Anaheim has not been able to provide a consistent tempo to their play and have suffered the losses for it, if they don’t remedy that situation for the next two games then the Defending Stanley Cup Champs will have only last years memories to help them get through what will be a long summer off season.

Fort Worth Star Telegram-- Stars' defense wins one for the ages
Los Angeles Daily News-- Ducks help dig their own hole
. Stats Pack

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