Ducks Radio Analyst
DALLAS – While the Ducks will not have any reinforcements returning from the injured list, the Dallas Stars will when the teams meet tonight at the American Airlines Center.
Defenseman Mark Fistric, who has missed the past five games because of a concussion suffered Dec. 17 in a 6-5, overtime victory at Atlanta, will rejoin the Dallas lineup, Stars coach Marc Crawford said.
In addition to winger Joffrey Lupul, who is sidelined long-term after having undergone back surgery, the Ducks remain without two other top-six forwards – center Ryan Getzlaf
and right wing Teemu Selanne
Getzlaf, who missed Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Honda Center, continues to recover from a lacerated right leg suffered in Saturday’s 5-2 loss at San Jose. Getzlaf was on the ice briefly during the Ducks’ morning skate today before adjourning for the locker room and time on a stationary bike.
“He’s a lot better,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “There is improvement from yesterday, but it’s still a little stiff.”
Selanne, meanwhile, was on the ice for the entire morning skate and long afterward, four weeks to the day after he suffered a broken bone in his left hand during a 3-1 loss to the Stars at the American Airlines Center.
Selanne’s return could conceivably come during this road trip, which continues Saturday in Nashville and concludes Sunday at Chicago, but is probably more likely at home next week, against Detroit on Tuesday or St. Louis on Thursday.
Dallas is also coming off a victory in its most recent game, a 5-4 triumph over the visiting Blackhawks on Tuesday, but the Stars have not posted consecutive wins since Nov. 21-23.
“They play a hard trapping system,” Carlyle said. “They play five guys and sometimes four guys back above the puck. They rely on (goaltender) Marty Turco to generate a lot of their puck movement. If you don’t dump the puck properly, he seems to have a positive effect, almost like being a third defenseman back there.
“We have to do some things to make sure we keep the puck away from him and execute cleanly through the neutral ice so we can attack and hold on to the puck more in the offensive zone.”
With two more difficult tasks remaining this weekend, the Ducks have a simple focus.
“We have to have a good start, a starting point, not only for tonight, but for this road trip,” Carlyle said. “Get a good start. Get a good first period. Get a good first shift, first scoring chance, first body check. Draw the first penalty and have the first power play. Be first in all areas early in the hockey game and then build on it.”