By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks have an opportunity tonight in Dallas to put a stranglehold on this best-of-seven series in which they currently lead, 2 games to 1. With their loss in Game 3 two nights ago, a guaranteed Game 5 will be played at Honda Center on Friday night, and the Ducks would love to be in the position to eliminate the Stars on home ice.
The road to destiny got a little steeper, as veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas will miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs due to a fractured right leg early in the second period of Game 3. It was heartbreaking on many levels, considering Robidas was almost five months removed from a fracture of the same leg while still a member of the Stars. But as unfortunate as Robidas’ injury is, the Ducks have proven all season long they can succeed in the face of adversity.
“We’ve been battling with key injuries throughout the season, but we’ve shown a lot of times that we’re a real good organization with a lot of depth,” said forward Jakob Silfverberg. “I’m not too worried about that. We’ve got some guys coming in and they’re going to step up, for sure.”
Ducks fans can expect Frederik Andersen in net tonight for the fourth consecutive game. Through the first three games of the series, Andersen sports a 2.67 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
Emerson Etem will make his first appearance in these playoffs, replacing Teemu Selanne in the lineup. Etem, 21, has appeared in 29 games with Anaheim this season, earning 11 points (7g/4a) with a plus-3 rating and four penalty minutes (PIM). He played 50 contests with the Admirals (AHL) in 2013-14, scoring 54 points (24g/30a) with a +14 rating and 10 PIM. In seven career NHL postseason contests (all last season), Etem has five points (3g/2a) and a plus-4 rating.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Though the Ducks pelted Kari Lehtonen with 37 shots in Game 3, the Stars netminder was able to see most of them with relative ease. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf says one of the areas of improvement needs to be the amount of traffic in front of Lehtonen.
“We need to up the level of our game,” he said. “We need to compete a little bit harder, get to the net a little bit harder and create some stuff around their crease so their goalie isn’t so comfortable. That involves getting in there, screening, getting second shots and those types of things.”
“He’s good, but we’ve beaten him in certain areas,” said Andrew Cogliano. “We have a good idea of where we need to score on him, but if you’re going to keep shooting pucks along the ice or into his stomach, he’s a good goalie. He’s confident in this building, and we have to get to him early.”
The Ducks will also have to improve their power play, which went 0-for-5 in Game 3. Overall, the PP unit has only converted twice in 13 opportunities (15.4%), and both of those goals came in Game 1. “Our power play has to get better,” said Boudreau. “Their [penalty kill] is good. They’re aggressive. But you don’t win without a good power play.”
For those interested in watching tonight’s game with fellow Ducks fans, you have two options. Head to Hooters of Anaheim (2438 E. Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806) or Hooters of Costa Mesa (1507 S. Coast Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626 ) for an Official Ducks Watch Party. Enjoy great food and drinks, intermission trivia and the opportunity to win player autographed items.