There isn’t much going on in the NHL tonight, with the usual three games on Wednesday. There is usually at least one game that is worth noting, but it’s not the most attractive lineup of games tonight. The Senators and Blackhawks may have sounded like a good matchup before the season started, but neither have been able to get on track.
The Stars-Ducks and Flames-Knights might impact the playoffs down the road, but it’s not going to attract much public attention. We’re going to hopefully make some bread in Anaheim tonight, where the Stars and Ducks will play at the Duck Pond. The Stars have been playing great hockey this year and have improved their anemic defence finally. It’s something that has been plaguing them for around five years, but thus far anyway, the Stars have been holding up in that regard.
No time to relax, though, as the only thing separating them and the final wildcard is 1 point. That’s the NHL for you, where a 34-21-4 can put you on the fringe. The NBA it’s a different story, but in the NHL, there aren’t any free passes handed out for being an average team. If the defensive effort they’ve sustained this season isn’t just a flash in the pan, they should be able to make it to the postseason. And then if they do, it has to keep up or they’ll get bounced early.
The way it’s looking, the Stars aren’t going to have a favorable matchup in the first-round, and will probably be up against a high seed. Nevertheless, it certainly isn’t impossible in the NHL to make something out of playing out of the back in the playoffs. Just ask the LA Kings who were able to do just that. The Ducks have been playing their brand of hockey lately, and we’ll see if it can continue tonight at home. Head below for our free Stars vs. Ducks pick on Wednesday night.
Dallas Stars vs. Anaheim Ducks Pick
When I alluded to the fact that the Ducks are playing their brand of hockey, it begins and ends on defence. They’ve become a solid team over the years thanks to their physical style of play and getting production out of their defence. Lately it’s been going well in that respect. In their last games, they’ve allowed more than 2 goals on one occasion for an average of 1.833 goals allowed per game. The Ducks enter with a record of 30-20-5. So, just like the Stars, they are right there in the thick of things. The Ducks are currently tied at 71 points with the Wild for the final wildcard in the Western Conference. It should be an exciting finish, as every game gets put under a microscope even more now.
Historically the Ducks have been strong as ever at home. This season they’ve been okay, with a record of 15-9-3, but they used to be the most dominant team in the NHL at home. Their core is certainly aging, so it isn’t too surprising, though. What has been pretty surprising is the Dallas defence, who have allowed 2.63 goals per game. Elite? No but it is good enough to put Ben Bishop and the defensive unit in the top-5 in the league. They are up on the Ducks, who are 10th in that respect. The Ducks blanked the Stars, 2-0, in an earlier meeting in January. Both of these teams have been emphasizing the defensive end of the ice lately. For the Stars, it’s been a long time coming. I can see this being a close battle with a probable final score of 3-2.
PICK: UNDER 5.5 (-110)