NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Friday, as the Anaheim Ducks host the Dallas Stars at 10 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.
The Ducks are Stars are on two very different paths right now. Both squads have two regular season games remaining, but Anaheim’s season will continue into the playoffs, while Dallas will be entering golf season after this weekend.
It’s been a disappointing year for the Stars, who were supposed to be better after adding Alexander Radulov, Martin Hanzal and Ben Bishop in free agency. Unfortunately for them, that simply hasn’t worked out in 2017-18.
Stars captain Jamie Benn isn’t sure what went wrong this season, but he admitted that not finishing the season strong isn’t an option.
“I think we’ll probably dig deeper into it this week,” Benn said, per the Dallas News. “But it’s important for us to come here and be professionals and finish what we started.
[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]
“We’re definitely in a better place than when I first got here. We didn’t even have an owner back then. We’ve got a good owner, good GM, we’ve got the coaches …We’ll look into more after this week. We’ve got a long time to dissect this thing and figure some things out.”
As for the Ducks, they clinched their playoff berth on Wednesday night when they took down the Wild, 3-1.
“Our group has been very, very resilient all year,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, per the OC Register. “When it looks like we’re down and out and people are questioning what’s going to happen with us, our group seems to find a way to find some inner strength and strength within and take the next step.
“It basically boils down to players getting the job done.”
Anaheim currently owns the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but they could move up as high as second in the Pacific Division standings. They trail the Kings, who are in third, by one point and they’re three points behind the Sharks, who are in second. The Ducks have a game in hand on both their California rivals. Of course, they’d need the Sharks to lose their final game and they’d have to win their last two games to move up into second.
After tonight, Anaheim will head to Arizona to close out their regular season on Saturday against the Coyotes.