Dallas Stars v Anaheim Ducks - Game One

Get your game notes: Stars at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Dallas Stars starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in Game 1 (a 4-3 Anaheim victory). The 6’4” Dane became the youngest goaltender (24 years, 196 days) to appear in a playoff game for Anaheim, and only the fourth Ducks goalie to win his NHL postseason debut for the Ducks, following Guy Hebert (1997), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003) and current back-up Jonas Hiller (2009).

• In Game 1, Jamie Benn, making his NHL postseason debut after five seasons and 344 regular-season games, scored the Stars’ first postseason goal since May 19, 2008. Before Benn’s goal, only Edmonton (June 19, 2006) and Winnipeg (Apr. 18, 2007) had gone longer than Dallas without a playoff goal.

• Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, the NHL’s second-leading scorer during the regular season (87 points) had one goal and one assist in the series opener before leaving the game with 16.3 seconds left after getting hit in the face with a slapshot. (X-rays came up negative, and he is expected to play in Game 2.) The Ducks improved to 15-1 in the playoffs when their captain has at least one goal and one assist. That lone loss came vs. Ottawa in Game 3 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, won by Anaheim in five games.

• In Game 1, Ducks winger Teemu Selanne (43 years, 287 days) became the oldest player to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoffs game since Chris Chelios in 2009. The “Finnish Flash” registered a power-play assist on the eventual game-winning goal by Matt Beleskey in the second period. Elias Sports Bureau

• In his first postseason start since Game 3 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (with the Atlanta Thrashers), Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen fell to 0-3 in three career postseason starts, with a 5.08 GAA and .861 save%. The Finnish goalie, who led the NHL this season with 65 appearances, has not lost back-to-back starts (regulation or overtime/shootout) since Jan. 18-20. Since that date, he is 6-0-0 in his first start after a loss (personal, not team), with a 2.14 GAA and .919 save%.

• Ducks winger Corey Perry, the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer during the regular season (43 goals), has zero goals in his last 10 playoff games, dating back to the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Nashville. His last postseason goal came in Game 4 (Apr. 20) of that series, when he scored shorthanded on Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

• This season, the Ducks ranked 22nd in the NHL in power-play efficiency (16.0%), just ahead of the Stars (23rd, at 15.9%), and tallied goals with the man advantage in only 32 of their 82 games (T-3rd fewest in the league). However, they broke out in Game 1 vs. Dallas, going two-for-five on goals by forwards Mathieu Perreault and Matt Beleskey.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.