Preview: Stars Begin Homestand Against Ducks

After the morning skate Tuesday, Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” rolled through the Dallas Stars’ dressing room speakers. While the original Man in Black is never a bad musical choice, the Stars’ current theme song should probably be Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December.”

Stars right wing Brett Ritchie faces off against his brother, Nick, Tuesday night. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Stars right wing Brett Ritchie faces off against his brother, Nick, Tuesday night. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

30 games into the 2016-17 season, the Stars are in trouble. Though they currently sit just two points out of the second Wild Card playoff seed, the current occupant of that spot, the Los Angeles Kings, has three games in hand on Dallas. So, too, do the Nashville Predators, who are tied (for the moment) with the Stars.

The Boys in Victory Green finish out the month with seven of eight games at home. Realistically, they need at least five wins just to keep their playoff hopes alive. As Jamie Benn said Tuesday morning, the Stars have to focus on one game at a time.

The pressure is most definitely on the Stars, and their uphill battle begins tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. If they make the most of this homestand, well…to paraphrase the late, great Merle Haggard, if they make it through December, they’ll be fine.

Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars

American Airlines Center – 7:30 pm CST

Broadcast channels – FS-SW, PRIME

2016-17 Season Series: 

October 13 – Stars 4, Ducks 2

Anaheim Ducks: 15-9-5  35 Points

Road Record: 5-5-4

Hot Players: Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie

Key Injuries: Simon Despres, Nate Thompson and Clayton Stoner

Projected lines:


Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase

Stefan Noesen – Joseph Cramarossa – Logan Shaw


Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Shea Theodore – Kevin Bieksa


John Gibson


Dallas Stars – 11-13-6  28 Points

Home Record: 7-4-2

Hot Players: Devin Shore, Curtis McKenzie and Antoine Roussel

Key Injuries: Julius Honka, Patrick Sharp, Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky

Projected lines:


Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Jason Spezza

Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Brett Ritchie

Jiri Hudler – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves

Lauri Korpikoski – Devin Shore – Adam Cracknell


Esa Lindell – John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya – Jordie Benn

Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns


Antti Niemi

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Fun with Numbers: The opening twenty minutes will be key for the Stars: The Ducks are 9-1-0 when leading at the end of the first period, but 0-5-4 when trailing. Dallas needs to score early and often.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Fun with Numbers, Part Two: If Dallas doesn’t have a multi-goal lead going into the final frame, things could go south in a hurry. The Stars have allowed a league-high 35 third-period goals, while the Ducks have surrendered a league-low 15.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Stars didn’t have any line rushes Tuesday morning, so the projected lines are a semi-educated guess. Curtis McKenzie and Patrik Nemeth skated late with the suspended Jamie Oleksiak, so those are your probable scratches.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Plano, Texas, native Stefan Noesen returns to the Metroplex Tuesday night as an NHL player. Noesen, who scored 78 goals in 52 games with the Dallas Ice Jets as a 13-year-old back in 2006-07, tallied his first NHL goal December 7 against Carolina. Give Anaheim’s number 64 a warm welcome tonight. He’s just the seventh son of the Lone Star State to skate in the NHL.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Brett Ritchie went out to dinner with his brother, Nick, Monday night. Tonight, they’ll see each other from opposite sides of the ice, as Nick is a left wing with the Ducks. Said Brett of his younger brother, “Whenever you get to see him, it’s good. Once we get on the ice, though, it’s a different story.” The two have never fought (not on the ice, anyway), but there’s a first time for everything.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]6)[/miptheme_dropcap] Stars coach Lindy Ruff made a good point while answering a question about his goalies this morning. “I think the biggest thing that’s hurting us is, it’s one mistake and we’re not scoring enough goals…it’s hard to just point at the mistake that the goal went in, because there’s five other mistakes that the goalie made the save on.” Last year, the Stars largely outscored their mistakes; this year, not so much.