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Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars series storylines @NHLdotcom

Who's left?:  The Ducks and Stars last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs in the 2003 Conference Semifinal (won by Anaheim 4-2).  Only F Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson as well as G J.F. Giguere remain from that team.  Nine current Dallas players competed in that series -- F Brenden Morrow, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Stu Barnes and Steve Ott, D Sergei Zubov, Stephane Robidas and Philippe Boucher and G Marty Turco.

Playing from behind:  The Ducks-Stars matchup features the two teams that registered the most number of wins this season after giving up the first goal of the game.  Anaheim had 21 such wins (21-23-5), while the Stars had 20 come-from-behind wins (20-20-2).

Home ice advantage: Anaheim boasts the second most home-ice points (60) in the Western Conference, holding visiting teams to a League low 88 goals, while the Dallas Stars finished third in the Western Conference with 49 road points and scored the Western Conference's second highest road goal total (118).

Goaltender battle: During the 2007 playoffs, Dallas G Marty Turco posted a 1.30 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage before being eliminated in game seven of the Western Conference Quarter-finals. Anaheim G J.S. Giguere led his team to the Stanley Cup with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.

NHL Playoff Appearance: 6th (3rd consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (2007)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2007 (Stanley Cup Final vs. Ottawa)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 10-4
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 44-29


Nov. 1/07 -- D Mathieu Schneider made his debut with the Ducks after missing the first 13 games with a fractured ankle.

Nov. 20/07 -- Signed C Ryan Getzlaf to a five-year contract extension.

Dec. 14/07 -- C Doug Weight (and LW Michal Birner and a seventh round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft) acquired from St. Louis for Andy McDonald.

Dec. 16/07 -- D Scott Niedermayer returned to the Ducks lineup (vs. San Jose).

Feb. 5/08 -- RW Teemu Selanne appeared in the lineup for the first time (vs. NY Islanders).


Ducks Travels:  The Ducks traveled approximately 11,700 miles to play their first five regular-season games (Anaheim to London, England, to Detroit to Columbus to Pittsburgh) before returning home.  Their only travel for their final five regular-season games involved the approximate 60-mile return trip to Staples Center to play the Kings.

Hot down the stretch:  The Ducks won 28 of their last 41 games (28-10-3) and earned points in 31 of those 41 (59 points) ... since the return of D Scott Niedermayer and arrival of C Doug Weight on Dec. 16, the Ducks have gone 32-12-4 (68 points)... the club is also 19-4-1 in the last 24 games at home ... the Ducks have gone 20-5-1 since the return of RW Teemu Selanne on Feb. 5 against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.  The club sat in 11th place in the West with 43 points after 41 games.


Ducks turnaround:  On Feb. 2, in the midst of an eight-game, 15-day road trip, the Ducks were shutout by the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 -- their sixth loss in a row and the second straight shutout loss (St. Louis, 1-0).  At practice in Philadelphia on Feb. 3, coach Randy Carlyle organized a game of pick-up hockey with D Francois Beauchemin and assistant coach Newell Brown playing goal and G J.S. Giguere playing forward.  On Feb. 5, with RW Teemu Selanne in the lineup for the first time, the club responded with a 3-0 win against the NY Islanders.  A day later, the club was hosted at the White House by President George Bush.

On the shelf:  RW Corey Perry suffered a lacerated right quad tendon on Mar. 6 at Colorado and will continue to be sidelined as the playoffs begin.

Ironmen:  D Francois Beauchemin and Sean O'Donnell along with LW Chris Kunitz are the only members of the Ducks who have appeared in every game since the regular season opener on September 29 in London.

Giguere loves working overtime: G J.S. Giguere has the best all-time playoff overtime winning percentage among goaltenders with 10-or-more OT appearances (.923 -- former Islanders' great Billy Smith ranks second at .762) ... his 12-1 career OT record includes the NHL's all-time longest overtime shutout sequence -- 197:52 (streak began on Apr. 10/03 vs. Detroit and was snapped on Apr. 27/07 in Game #2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series vs. Vancouver) ... He went 4-1 in OT in the 2007 playoffs ... in 250:47 career post-season OT minutes, Giguere has a 0.24 GAA and a .990 save percentage.

Shutting the door:  Giguere has allowed two-or-fewer goals in 30 of his 45 career playoff appearances, including 13 of 18 games in the 2007 playoffs.


In defense of experience:  The Ducks defense, led by Scott Niedermayer (183), Chris Pronger (128), Mathieu Schneider (103) and Sean O'Donnell (81), have combined for 608 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience -- to rank second to the Red Wings (646) among the 2008 Stanley Cup playoff teams.

Elite company:   Randy Carlyle has 25 playoff wins in his first two years as an NHL head coach, tying him with former Montreal Canadiens' coach Jean Perron for the most in League history.  Buffalo's Lindy Ruff ranks third (24), followed by former Bruins' coach Mike Milbury (23) and former Avalanche coach Bob Hartley (22).

Stanley Cup repeat:  The Ducks will attempt to become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships since the Detroit Red Wings won in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

NHL Playoff Appearance: 29th (5th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (1999)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2003 (Conference Quarterfinal vs. Edmonton)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 26-27
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 144-145


Nov. 7/07 -- C Mike Modano scored a goal vs. San Jose, to become the all-time top U.S.-born scorer (1,233 points)

Nov. 13/07 -- After a 7-7-2 start to the regular-season, the Stars replaced GM Doug Armstrong with co-GM's Brett Hull and Les Jackson


Jan. 7/08 -- C Mike Ribeiro signed a five-year contract extension. Co-GM Brett Hull on Ribeiro: "He reminds me of myself when I first got to St. Louis.  I scored 42 goals, and [coach] Brian Sutter grabbed me for individual meetings, and I was expecting a pat on the back. And instead it was, 'That was nothing, you have so much more to give'.  That's the way we're going to treat [Ribeiro]. I really believe the strides he's made from last year to now - it's just scratching the surface of what he can be."

Feb. 28/08 -- C Brad Richards (acquired with Johan Holmqvist from Tampa Bay in exchange for Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith and a fourth round pick in 2009 on Feb. 26) registered five assists in his debut with the Stars (7-4 win Feb. 28 vs. Chicago) to become the first player in NHL history to record five assists in his first game with a team. The win ran their streak at the time to 13 wins in 15 games as they finished the month of February with a franchise-record 12 wins.  


40+ wins, again:  The Stars have now registered 40-or-more wins in the regular-season for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.  Only New Jersey (11) has more 40-or-more win seasons since 1996-97.

Morrow's career year:  LW Brenden Morrow set career highs in 32 goals and points (74) and equalled his career-best with 42 assists.  Morrow on the increased offensive production:  "I enjoy doing a lot of other things a lot better than I enjoy sitting in the box nowadays.  I have tried to control those things more. You don't want to lose your edge, but at the same time, you can be smart about those things and help your team more."


Improved offense:  The Stars have three players who scored 25 goals this season (Brenden Morrow - 32, Mike Ribeiro - 27, Niklas Hagman - 27). Last season, the Stars top goal-scorer was Jere Lehtinen (26).  The Stars enter the 2008 playoffs with the Western Conference's second-best offense (242 goals) after ranking seventh of the eight Western teams in the 2007 playoffs.

Injuries a big factor in '07-'08:  The Stars played about half of the regular-season with three key players out of the lineup due to injury -- defensemen Philippe Boucher (missed 44 games) and Sergei Zubov (36 games) along with RW Jere Lehtinen (33 games).  Boucher played only nine games since Dec. 5 after suffering a separated shoulder, while Zubov has been sidelined since Jan. 19 due to injury (surgery was Feb. 24).  Lehtinen missed 33 games (Nov. 23 - Jan. 29) with an abdominal injury.

A tale of two seasons in second half:  The Stars lost just two of 14 games in February and won only four of their final 14 games since March 1.  

Coach Tippett:  Stars' coach Dave Tippett, who received a one-year contract extension through 2008-09 on Dec. 28, has the best regular-season record among active NHL coaches. (235-127-48).  Tippett will look to improve on an 11-18 Stanley Cup playoff record and three consecutive first-round series losses.  Co-GM Les Jackson on the last three years:  "If you look at them separately, there have been different reasons each season.  Those teams each had very different lineups and very different leaders. This year, we're different again. We have different challenges, and I believe we are working toward meeting those challenges."

2007 playoff review:  Despite shutouts by Marty Turco in Game #2, #5 and #6 in their opening series against Vancouver, the Stars managed only 12 goals in their seven-game loss to the Canucks last year.


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