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Ducks vs Stars

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Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Why the Ducks will win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 2:45 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Anaheim Ducks have spent their 20th season in the NHL celebrating an anniversary in style, and they will finish the campaign with a Stanley Cup parade to cap the festivities.

This is the best team in franchise history. The Ducks are deep and talented at every position. They do not have two all-time great defensemen like the 2006-07 team which won the Cup, but the Ducks are much deeper up front and boast plenty of potential Hall of Fame talent to claim a second championship in franchise history.

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were a key part of the title run seven years ago, and they are among the top duos in the NHL. Perry has won the Hart Trophy and Getzlaf is a likely finalist this season. They've each won two Olympic gold medals and winning the Cup for a second time would help make them both likely candidates for eventual Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Ducks' Selanne embraces playoffs curtain call

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 2:42 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM – For a few lucky Anaheim Ducks fans, patience paid off after a recent game.

More than an hour after Anaheim lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Honda Center on March 10, loyal Ducks fans milled about the north side of the building, hoping to get autographs from departing players.

Teemu Selanne, the popular veteran forward, stopped and signed, parking close to the loading dock.

There was just one slight problem.

"I blocked the intersection," Selanne said with a laugh. "The one bus came there and the driver was yelling, 'What are you doing?' [I said], 'Don't worry about it.' "

After 21 years, more than 1,400 games played and thousands of autographs signed, Selanne can block an intersection here or there, especially when he is once again giving back to the fans.

X-Factor: Nichushkin finds comfort level with Stars

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 2:02 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The Dallas Stars are young, fast and dangerous. It begins with their top-line punch of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but there are more reasons why Dallas is back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years.

One is right wing Valeri Nichushkin. The 19-year-old was selected with the No. 10 pick at the 2013 NHL Draft and immediately made the jump to hockey's highest level. He did not look out of place, scoring 14 goals and 20 assists. Even more impressive, Nichushkin boasted a plus-21 rating, showing the ability to play well at each end of the ice despite his young age. For most players his age, it takes some time to learn how to play responsibly in the defensive zone.

Now, on an even bigger stage, the Stars will depend on Nichushkin to help them advance past the Western Conference First Round. The skilled wing is likely to skate on the Stars' top line alongside the aforementioned Seguin and Benn, which should give Nichushkin an opportunity to convert on some quality scoring opportunities.

Why the Dallas Stars will win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 1:58 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The Dallas Stars entered the 2013-14 season with hopes of ending a five-year hiatus from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They were led by a new general manager in Jim Nill, who arrived in Dallas after spending the previous 15 seasons as the assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings. It was there where Nill was able to learn from one of the best minds in the business in general manager Ken Holland.

Nill's first order of business was to find a successful coach, one with a track record and the ability to get the most from his players. Lindy Ruff, who guided the Buffalo Sabres for 15 years and an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, became the Stars' new coach.

Playoffs latest chapter in big year for Stars' Benn

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 1:30 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- This has already been a landmark season for Jamie Benn.

In September, the Dallas Stars left wing was named captain. In February, Benn represented Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, scoring two goals for the gold-medal winner.

Friday, after the Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-0 at American Airlines Center, Benn learned what it felt like to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time when Dallas qualified for the postseason, snapping a six-year playoff drought.

"Obviously, proud of the way our team played, excited for what's to come. It's a great opportunity for this group of guys that we have," Benn said. "We know that we can beat any team. We have a confident group."

Goals could be plentiful in Ducks-Stars series

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:14 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

The Anaheim Ducks were back among the top teams in the Western Conference for a second straight season but are hoping for a better conclusion after an opening-round exit in 2013. To do so, they'll have to defeat the Dallas Stars, a team back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six seasons and that boasts one of the most exciting duos in the sport.

Anaheim stormed to the top of the NHL standings and was 36-8-5 at one point before a two-month bout with mediocrity. The Ducks rebounded near the end of the season to reclaim the top spot in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.

The Ducks were one of the top offensive clubs in the League, led by a dominant duo of their own, forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and great depth at forward. Anaheim's ability to remain near the top of the NHL standings was in part because of the best goaltending depth in the, so the majority of the pressure will be on the Ducks.

X-Factor: Versatile Bonino could hold key for Ducks

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:43 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

One of the reasons the Anaheim Ducks have great depth at forward is not just the talent and skill on the roster, but also the versatility of several players who have become interchangeable parts for coach Bruce Boudreau.

This was evident during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Boudreau mixed and matched players on three of his four lines during a seven-game series loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem moved up and down the lineup, but continued to perform well even when the team's stars were not.

Nick Bonino is also part of that versatile group, and he could play a large role in the 2014 postseason fortunes for the Ducks. Bonino was a relative unknown before the team's series with the Red Wings. At the time, he had 112 games of NHL regular-season experience, but he also had 11 goals and 33 points on his resume.

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