Stars versus Anaheim Ducks Playoff Series
The Dallas Stars will take on the Anaheim Ducks in the 1st round of the Western Conference Playoffs with the series beginning on Wednesday in Anaheim. Anaheim is the #1 seed in the Western Conference while Dallas will be making their first playoff appearance in 6-years. According to NHL betting odds the Ducks are a -230 money line favorite to win the series. Dallas is listed as a +190 to pull an upset. Dallas won 2 of the 3-games played between these clubs this season.
in the West
The Anaheim Ducks not only won the Pacific Division, but they also earned the most points in the entire Western Conference. The Ducks finished the regular season with 116-points 2nd only to the 117-points garnered by the Boston Bruins. The Ducks enter the postseason riding a bit of momentum after winning their last 4-games of the regular season. Anaheim was the top scoring team in the NHL this season averaging 3.2 goals per game. They did all that scoring despite only having the 22nd ranked power play in the league. They weren’t too shabby defensively as well finishing 9th in the NHL allowing 2.5 goals per contest. The Ducks got off to a terrific start at home this season, but they tailed off a bit at the Honda Center since the middle of January. They’ve gone just 9-11 versus the money line in their last 20 home games, and finished the season with a final home mark of 29-12. The Ducks possess 2 of the top 5 NHL scorers in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
be in the Postseason
Kudos to head coach Lindy Ruff and his Dallas Stars team for qualifying for the playoffs despite not so kind early season prognostications from the experts. Ruff spent 15 seasons as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres before being relieved of his duties in the early part of last season. Ruff took over a Dallas team that finished 11th overall in the Western Conference a season ago, and hadn’t made the playoffs in 5 seasons. Ruff’s Buffalo teams went a more than respectable 57-44 during the playoffs, reached the Eastern Conference Finals on 4 separate occasions, and the Stanley Cup Finals once. The biggest lift for the Stars this season was the play of Tyler Seguin who came over in an offseason trade from the Boston Bruins. After being labeled as a classic underachiever, Seguin responded to the change of scenery by putting together a career year. Seguin accumulated 37goals, 47-points, and 84-points on the season, and that was good for 4th in the NHL scoring race. The Stars other center icemen wasn’t too bad as well. Jamie Benn finished tied for 7th in league scoring with 79-points.
I like the head coaching edge to go with Dallas in this series. Although the Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau has put together an impressive regular season record during his NHL head coaching career, his playoff record of 20-24 leaves a lot to be desired. Lindy Ruff has proven to be an outstanding playoff coach, winning with teams that were less talented than this current Dallas roster. However, in terms of overall talent and depth, the Ducks are clearly the superior team in this series for our Hockey picks. That Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is certainly capable of stealing a game at some point but will that be enough? The Stars have had an inspiring season but will fall just short of the mark in this one.
Free Hockey Pick: Anaheim over Dallas in 6-games