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Ducks, Stars ready for another physical battle

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars combined for 64 hits, 58 penalty minutes and plenty of contentious moments in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series.

The teams expect another physical battle Wednesday, when the Stars will try to even the series by winning Game 4 at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; TSN, CNBC, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

"Obviously we need to up our level of our game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said Tuesday. "We need to compete a little bit harder, get to that net a little bit harder and create some stuff around their crease so their goalie is not so comfortable. That involves getting in there, screening, getting second shots."

After a 3-0 loss in Game 3, Getzlaf's teammates and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau accused several Stars of crossing the line. But Boudreau knows one way to overcome any physical play from Dallas.

"I think you counteract that if you score a couple of goals on the power play. Then they don't do that," Boudreau said. "But if you're not going to make them pay when they're doing things, then automatically they're going to keep doing things because they have no fear of you."

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he didn't feel his players took any liberties in Game 3 but anticipates a more physical game Wednesday when Dallas looks to tie the best-of-7 series on home ice.

"I think as a series goes on, the emotions and the physical play start to ramp up. I fully expect the emotions to be running high on both sides," Ruff said.

Dallas left wing Antoine Roussel, who earned a double minor for roughing late in the second period of Game 3 after a confrontation with Getzlaf, was one player Boudreau and his players singled out in their postgame remarks for his questionable tactics.

Roussel said he felt he didn't cross the line but does expect a big response from the Ducks.

"When you lose, you're frustrated. We've been there and we bounced back. They are going to bounce back pretty hard I guess. They are a character team. They have a lot of great players on their team and they have character to bounce back," Roussel said. "We just have to match up and get the next game."

Stars captain Jamie Benn, who is tied for the team lead with two goals, said the game plan remains the same no matter what sort of contest Game 4 becomes.

"We're not going to change our game just because of some of the stuff they're saying. We want to play the same way. We're going to focus in on their top guys and find a way to shut them down," Benn said.

Getzlaf stopped short of guaranteeing a Ducks win in Game 4, but he is confident Anaheim will bounce back after its first loss of the series.

"These are fun hockey games," Getzlaf said. "It's always tough to win in the playoffs. It's tough to win on a nightly basis. Those are games that we usually start to excel at, and we will tomorrow."

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