The NHL is set up with a busy night of action on Thursday night. Eleven games will be up on the board throughout January 9. One of the matchups to close out the night will be between the Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Ducks. These two teams have had opposite starts to the season, but will look to earn a nice win in this matchup. This game will start at around 10:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
The Stars have started this season out with a record of 25-14-4, which has them sitting in third place of the Central Division. Dallas is only two points behind the second place Colorado Avalanche and two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars have won five in a row coming into this matchup and are coming off a matchup on Wednesday night. Dallas will look to come out quick in this one after playing in Los Angeles last night.
Anaheim has earned a record of 17-21-5 so far this season. The Ducks are currently sitting in seventh place of the Pacific Division. Anaheim is three points behind the San Jose Sharks for the closest spot in the division and eleven points out of a playoff spot. The Ducks will need to get some sort of winning streak going if they want to jump back into a playoff berth.
Dallas has had a nice start to the season so far, while the Ducks have struggled after having a solid start to the season. Anaheim has lost eight of their last eleven games coming into this one. The Ducks still have plenty of time to climb back into the playoff picture, but they will need to get things going quickly. The Stars will look to hold onto their playoff spot with a nice win in this one.
These two teams met up three times throughout last season. After falling down 3-0, Dallas rattled off five straight goals to earn a 5-3 win at home. Jason Dickinson had two goals and an assist in the second game to help the Stars win 5-2 at home. Brandon Montour had four points, while Ondrej Kase earned a hat trick in the final game of the season series to help the Ducks win 6-3 to avoid the series sweep.
The first game of this season’s series was hosted by Dallas on October 24. Denis Gurianov scored twice in the first period to help the Stars take a nice lead. Max Comtois cut the lead in half with a power play goal in the second, but Dallas was able to shut them down after that. Ben Bishop turned away 29 of the 30 shots he faced to help the Stars win 2-1.
Dallas has won three of their last four games against the Ducks over this season and the last. The Stars have looked like a playoff team over that time frame, while Anaheim missed out on the playoffs last season and are on track to miss again this season. The Ducks will look to bounce back though from that first loss to Dallas on the season.
The Stars have been slightly below the league average on the power play so far this season. Dallas has capitalized on 22 of their 122 power play chances, which is an 18 percent success rate. The Stars penalty kill has done better though. Dallas has held opposing teams to 25 goals on 146 opportunities this season, which is an 82.9 percent penalty kill.
Anaheim’s special teams have not been able to get going this season. The Ducks have scored 18 power play goals on 118 attempts so far, which is a 15.3 percent power play. Anaheim’s penalty kill has been slightly stronger. The Ducks have allowed their opponents to capitalize on 29 of 136 power play opportunities, which is a 78.7 percent kill rate.
Neither team’s power play has had the best start to this season so far. The Stars power play has done slightly better and will look to grab a goal or two against Anaheim’s penalty kill. The Ducks have not done well on the power play, but Dallas gives up a lot of man advantages, so they will look to take advantage of that. If either team can get special teams going in this one, it could give them a big edge.
I expect Ben Bishop to get the start in the crease for Dallas on Thursday night. Bishop has put up a record of 14-9-3 through his starts. He has posted a .926 save percentage and a GAA of 2.33. Bishop’s last start was against the Nashville Predators in the Winter Classic. He stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced in route to a big win.
John Gibson will likely get the start in the crease for the Ducks in this matchup. Gibson has started this season off with a record of 13-16-3 through his 32 starts. He has earned a save percentage of .906 and a 2.95 GAA in those 32 games. Gibson’s last start was against the Nashville Predators, where he stopped 22 of the 26 shots against him in route to a win.
The Stars hold the edge in this matchup with Bishop in net. Dallas has gotten excellent goaltending from both their starter and their backup throughout this season. Gibson has done solid this season, especially when you look at the help he has gotten from his defense. Gibson has had a save percentage below .900 in his last two starts. If he can bounce back in this one, it could help the Ducks pull off the upset.
Dallas has been the much better team throughout this season, but I believe that the Ducks have a good chance to pull off the upset in this one. If Anaheim can grab a power play goal or two against the Stars, who have given up a lot of man advantages this season, it would help. I think that Gibson has a good chance to bounce back in this one as he will need to match the play of Bishop.
BetOnline has Dallas listed as a -135 against the money line in this matchup. This implies that the Stars will win this game around 57.5 percent of the time. Dallas has been the better team throughout this season, but with this game being in Anaheim, I think the Ducks could pull off the upset. As home underdogs, I think Anaheim has a lot of value, making them my pick of the night.