Ducks blinded by Stars in four-goal defeat

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks could not recover from an early deficit, falling 6-2 to the Stars.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – It was a quiet deadline day for the Ducks, who made just one deal, bringing in forward Ben Meyers from the Colorado Avalanche for a 2024 fifth-round pick. The Ducks sent down forwards Glenn Gawdin and Pavol Regenda, with Troy Terry and Mason McTavish both returning to the lineup from separate injuries. Meyers also slotted into the lineup, playing left wing alongside Isac Lundeström and Jakob Silfverberg.

Things didn’t get off to a great start for Anaheim, with the Stars getting on the board just 1:14 into the first. Defenseman Chris Tanev nabbed his first goal since being acquired by the Stars and just his second by the season after his shot from the point deflected off Terry’s stick and took a rainbow path into the net. Goaltender John Gibson never saw it.

The Ducks were able to weather the storm for the next 15 minutes, but a holding penalty from Bo Groulx in the offensive zone allowed the Stars to double their lead on the power play. Roope Hintz got a stick on a point shot from Miro Heiskanen and the puck trickled past Gibson and over the goal line.

Gibson would make a terrific save on Matt Duchene, going post-to-post on an odd-man to prevent the former Avalanche from making it a 3-0 game. However, the Stars would get their third goal anyways minutes later, with Radek Faksa converting in close.

Special teams continued to aid the Stars in the second, with Jamie Benn scoring on the power play after Radko Gudas was penalized for flipping the puck out of play from his own zone. As a whole, Dallas went 3-for-5 on the power play.

Ryan Strome got the Ducks on the board barely a minute later with a nifty deflection off a low shot from Frank Vatrano. With that assist, Vatrano now has the first 50-point season of his career, continuing his career year.

A turnover in the defensive zone would help Dallas restore their four-goal lead, with Mason Marchment’s shot deflected off a sprawled Pavel Mintyukov and past the shoulder of Gibson. Alex Killorn’s power play tally––his third goal in as many games––brought the Ducks back within three, but it would be canceled out by a Joe Pavelski goal three minutes later, which also came on the power play.

“We were a little sleepy in the beginning,” said Strome. “Just a bit of a slow start. They’re a good team. If you give them 20 shots in the first period, they’re going to make you pay. I think the penalty kill could be a little bit better. You give them a 5-on-3, you look at the talent on that unit, they’re going to get one more often than not.”

“(The Stars) came out firing,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “They came out flying and we weren’t ready for it. After that tornado ripped through us, we kind of got back into a rhythm. They didn’t have a shot on net from like (the 15-minute mark) until they got their power play. They get the power play and it’s just a shooting gallery. I think I looked up, the shots were like 10-7 in favor of them and then it went to 17-7.”