[April 17, 2014]ANAHEIM — It all started so well
for the Anaheim Ducks. In the end, though, they scrambled to dodge
The Ducks narrowly avoided blowing a four-goal lead, hanging on
for a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in the opener of their
Western Conference playoff series before a sellout crowd of 17,294
at Honda Center on Wednesday night.
"I'm sure we didn't put the fear of God in them," Ducks coach Bruce
Boudreau said of the Stars. "They probably gained some confidence by
it. We didn't play that good, I didn't think. We have to play a lot
better if we want to win anything. I thought we gave the puck away
way too many times."
Center Ryan Getzlaf and left winger Matt Beleskey, who both were
injured, each scored a goal and had an assist for the Ducks, who
Getzlaf left the ice with 16 seconds remaining after taking a puck
to the face. He received stitches after the game and was unavailable
for comment. Getzlaf, the club's points' leader, will be
re-evaluated Thursday morning. His status for Game 2, which is
Friday at Honda Center, is unknown.
Beleskey left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury
and did not returned. He too will be re-evaluated Thursday.
"You never want to see someone go down and take a puck to the face,"
said Anaheim right winger Kyle Palmieri, who also scored a goal in
the win. "That kind of stuff happens. In any series, you're going to
have guys go down. We'll see tomorrow."
Anaheim rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots, while
Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen finished with 31 saves.
Center Tyler Seguin's goal cut the Ducks' lead to 4-3 with 6:07
remaining in the contest, but the Stars failed to score again.
"The way we finished was how we want to play the full game," Seguin
said. "I am not saying I don't think we had a good start. I thought
the first 10 to 12 minutes we played pretty well. We didn't
capitalize on some opportunities, even though they did. I definitely
liked our no-quit attitude out there and performance."
Beleskey scored at 9:04 of the second period when he deflected a
shot by defenseman Francois Beauchemin into the net for a 4-0
advantage. That turned out to be the difference. For Beleskey, it
was his first multi-point playoff game.
"Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to win," said Ducks
right winger Corey Perry, who had an assist. "You're going to have
ups and downs, but if you can keep an even keel you'll be alright."
Everything went right for the Ducks early on. They managed just
three shots in the opening 13 minutes, but two of them landed in the
back of the net. However, after Beleskey's goal, the Stars rallied
and blanked the Ducks the rest of the way.
"We had a tough start," said left winger Jamie Benn, who put the
Stars on the board with a goal in the second period. "They came out
hot in their building. They are really good in this rink. I thought
we battled back pretty good there, but it just wasn't enough."
Palmieri gathered a pass from center Nick Bonino and slapped the
puck by Lehtonen for a 1-0 Anaheim lead at 1:53 of the first period.
Getzlaf cashed in a rebound off an attempt by Beleskey for a 2-0
lead with 7:11 remaining in the first.
Anaheim scored again when center Mathieu Perreault ripped a blast
from the right circle with only 30 seconds remaining in the first
for a 3-0 lead.
The Stars took advantage of a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second
period to get on the board as Benn drilled a wrist shot past
Andersen with 3:24 left.
Dallas scored again with 1:51 remaining in the period when center
Colton Sceviour sneaked a winner through the pads of Andersen to cut
the margin to 4-2.
NOTES: Dallas G Kari Lehtonen entered the series with a 9-7-3 record
against Anaheim and a .915 save percentage. Ducks G Frederik
Anderson had never faced the Stars. ... Anaheim LW Matt Beleskey had
three goals and an assist in the last three regular-season games.
Beleskey had nine goals overall. ... The last time the two clubs met
in the playoffs occurred in 2008, when the Stars knocked out the
Ducks in six games in the opening round. That also was the last
postseason appearance for Ducks D Stephane Robidas, who spent 10
seasons with the Stars before being dealt to Anaheim in March. ...
The two teams also met in the 2003 playoffs when the Ducks posted a
4-2 series win. ... Games 3 and 4 are at American Airlines Center in
Dallas on Monday and April 23.