After over a week of rest thanks to the NHL’s All-Star Weekend festivities in Miami, the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars are ready to kick things off in the second half of the season.
Anaheim Ducks @ Dallas Stars
The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Ducks, who were the winners of three straight for the first time all season. The Western Conference bottom dwellers own the second-least points in their conference and third-least league-wide, only ahead of the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. However, something the not-so-mighty Ducks have that no one else can claim even coming close to? A -80 goal differential that’s 13 goals more than the next worst team.
As for Dallas, the Stars couldn’t be a more opposite team. Ranking at the top of the Western Conference with a record of 28-13-10, the Stars limped into All-Star weekend after three straight overtime loses. Five of the last 10 games for Dallas before All-Star Weekend went to overtime. With only the San Jose Sharks playing more overtime periods in the first half of the season, the Stars happily took their nine-day break between games in hopes of resetting to their otherwise dominant form displayed before the break.
Dallas counters the -80 goal differential from the Ducks with a +40 goal differential of their own, tied for second best in the league behind on;y the historical anomaly +81 put up by the Bruins in the first half of the year.
The Stars have scored the eighth most goals per game in the league this season and also sport the second-stingiest defense in the league in terms of goals allowed per game. The Ducks rank as the worst team league-wide in both categories. Much of the Stars success comes from the Power Play, where they’re top five in both Power Play percentage on offense and Kills on defense. The Ducks rank 30th in both.
Despite all of this, the Ducks won the last matchup between these two teams, a 2-0 shutout win in Anaheim to start the new year. Back in Dallas this time, we expect no such luck. Look for the Stars to get their heads back in the game after their three-game losing streak and worsen the Ducks’ laughing stock of a goal differential tonight.
Pick: Stars -1.5
Total: Under 6 goals
Team total: Stars over 3 goals, Ducks under 1.5 goals