The Ducks will host the Stars on Wednesday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California with the opening face-off slated for 10:35 PM ET. This will be the opener of the best-of-7 Western Conference Quarterfinal series. According to NHL betting odds the Ducks are a -175 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5. The Ducks are the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the Stars enter as the #8 seed. The Stars won 2 of the 3 regular season meetings played between these clubs during the regular season, and 2 of those 3 went over the total.
back and Shining
The Dallas Stars are back in the playoffs for the first time in 6-years. The long time Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff took over the behind the bench this season and has led the franchise resurgence. Ruff has a proven playoff track record in the playoffs as the head man in Buffalo. The Sabres advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals on 4 separate occasions and to the Stanley Cup Finals once during Ruff’s 14 full seasons on the job. However, the coach can’t score goals or stop pucks. He has to have players, and the Stars have a few of those that have been an integral part of their success. Their top two centers Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were amongst the top scorers in the NHL this season. The Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen can be a huge difference maker in regards to the Stars potentially upsetting the Ducks in the 1st round. Lehtonen will have to be on top of his game versus the top scoring team (Anaheim) in the NHL.
Despite having a stellar season, the Stars were anything but stingy defensively this season in allowing 2.8 goals per game. The Stars real vulnerabilities defensively were exposed on the road where they allowed 3.1 goals per game. However, down the stretch of the regular season they were playing low scoring playoff type hockey. The Stars went under the total in their last 5, and 7 of the last 8 regular season games. Dallas was 17-24 versus the money line on opposition ice this season.
Back on the Gas Pedal
The Anaheim Ducks got off to a terrific start to the season then they went through about a 2-month lull, and proceeded to close the regular season playing extremely well. The Ducks were winners of their last 4, and 9 of the last 12-games of the regular season. That late season surge catapulted them to the top of the Western Conference standings, and has assured them home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Anaheim was 29-12 versus the money line on home ice this season, although they went just 9-10 in the last 19 at the Honda Center. The Ducks are an explosive offensive team that averaged 3.2 goals per game. They finished the season by going over the total in 7 of their final 10 regular season games.
Any money line road underdog that’s playing in the 2nd half of the season, versus an opponent that averages 3.0 or more goals per game, and that opponent is coming off 2 consecutive overtime wins, has gone 23-12 (65.7%) during the last 18 seasons.
Free Hockey Pick: Dallas +155 over Anaheim