With the final regular season game behind them, the Dallas Stars now turn their attention to the Anaheim Ducks, their first round opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the series opening Wednesday in Anaheim, the Stars are flying straight from Phoenix to California to prepare for the series.
“It’s something that Jim [Nill, Stars GM] and I have discussed,” Ruff said. “It just doesn’t make any sense spending two or three hours flying back [to Dallas] and then flying out again. We get there, we get a day off, we practice on Tuesday and we are ready to go.”
Ruff started his preparation for the Ducks even before the Stars took on Phoenix in Sunday’s regular season finale.
“I’ve already gone back and looked at parts of games that we played them. We played well against them at times,” said Ruff.
The Stars won two of three against the Ducks. They lost 6-3 in Anaheim in October, won 6-3 in Dallas in November and then won 2-0 in Anaheim in February.
“But the playoffs is a different beast,” Ruff said. “They’ll know everything about us in a game or two and we’ll know everything about them. A lot of it is going to come down to the will and taking advantage of situations inside a game.”
Anaheim comes into the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference after finishing tops in the Pacific Division with 116 points.
“We know them well and we’ve had some success against them,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “They’re fast, they’re a bigger team and they obviously had a great season. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
And Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said his team expects a challenge from the Stars.
“We know we have a real worthy opponent,” Boudreau told media Saturday after the Ducks beat Los Angeles in a shootout. “They’ve beaten us twice out of the three times this year, and they’ll be ready to play. They’ve got a lot of young guys that are just excited to be there. I’ve been in that situation. They’re a tough team to beat.”
Quotable: Stephane Robidas on playing the Stars
“I've played against good friends before and whenever I'm on the ice, you put aside friendship. I really want to win a Stanley Cup. That's my goal and they're standing in our way right now.”
- Former Stars and now Ducks defenseman Stephane Robidas on meeting Dallas in the first round of the playoffs
The NHL released the schedule for the first round of the playoffs. The Stars and Anaheim Ducks open their series on Wednesday at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Here are dates, times and local and national television coverage for the series. Times are Central.
Game 1: Wed, April 16, Dallas at Anaheim, 9 p.m., FSSW, NBC Sports Network, TSN
Game 2: Fri, April 18, Dallas at Anaheim, 9 p.m., FSSW, NBC Sports Network, TSN
Game 3: Mon, April 21, Anaheim at Dallas, 8:30 p.m., TXA-21, NBC Sports Network, TSN
Game 4: Wed, April 23, Anaheim at Dallas, 7 p.m., FSSW, CNBC, TSN
*Game 5: Fri, April 25, Dallas at Anaheim, 9:30 p.m., FSSW, NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Game 6: Sun, April 27, Anaheim at Dallas, FSSW, TBA, TSN
*Game7: Tue, April 29, Dallas at Anaheim, FSSW, TBA, TSN
First round playoff matchups
Here are the matchups for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anaheim vs. Dallas
San Jose vs. Los Angeles
Colorado vs. Minnesota
St. Louis vs. Chicago
Boston vs. Detroit
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia
Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.