Recap: Expansion Draft Looms Large in Ducks Win Over Stars

The Anaheim Ducks badly needed a win on Tuesday night after having gotten embarrassed against the Minnesota Wild just two days prior. A victory they got, and in a rather surgical fashion, beating the Dallas Stars 2-0 at Honda Center on the strength of a John Gibson shutout and a two-point performance by Jakob Silfverberg.

Gibson, who’s had his fair share of struggles in his first season as a starter, has posted a .959 save percentage in his last five starts. He didn’t have to make any jaw-dropping stops against Dallas, instead neatly controlling rebounds and looking composed throughout the night, something he clearly lacked against Minnesota.

Both sides lacked energy at the onset. There was no apparent hunger, neither club swinging for the knockout, getting their body blows in when possible. That’s been the recipe for Anaheim all season long, and it worked again Tuesday night. The fighting analogy is too tempting to pass up: some jabbing, a whole lot of dodging, and ultimately an uppercut. The uppercut came in the form of a Silfverberg goal late in the third, banging in a greasy rebound to take the lead. Dallas never seemed to be able to recover from that point on, the fatigue of a back-to-back settling into their legs.

Silfverberg made his presence felt once again in the third period, feathering a perfect pass across the slot to Andrew Cogliano, who quickly snapped the puck short-side. Head coach Randy Carlyle would refer to the 26-year old Swede as a “man possessed” after the game, and he couldn’t have been more right. Silfverberg seemed to have the puck on his stick all night long, and he was just as tenacious without it.

There’s a good chance that he’ll be eligible for the expansion draft this summer. It’s hard not to imagine the Vegas Golden Knights licking their chops at the idea of adding a “man possessed” to their nascent franchise. Unfortunately for Anaheim, Silfverberg will be just one component of a much larger portfolio of players that could be expansion draft-eligible. Tuesday’s win was huge for the Ducks, but, it only further magnified the difficult decisions that they will be forced to make in the near future.

First Period

With important points on the line, it felt as if neither team was willing to make the first mistake in the early going. Dallas, known for its up-tempo style, definitely looked the part of a team that had played the night before. Yet as dull as both teams looked, the numbers seemed to tell a different story.

The period ended with both teams combining for 34 shot attempts at even-strength. Though the numbers may have conflicted with the eye-test in the early going, they heavily foreshadowed what was to come in the following 40 minutes of play.

Second Period

Ducks’ play-by-play man John Ahlers put it perfectly mid-way through the second period, “This just turned into a Dallas Stars game”. Both teams flew up and down the ice at a pace that the Stars are very much accustomed to. Anaheim, more of a “slow-it-down” team, was able to beat the Stars at their own game, forcing them to take a litany of penalties.

Frustration set into the Dallas side as defenseman John Kinberg cross-checked Ducks’ winger Joseph Cramarossa squarely in the mouth, sending Anaheim onto yet another power play. The Ducks would make no mistake, with Silfverberg burying home a rebound from a Corey Perry shot.

Third Period

Anaheim’s dominance in the middle frame trickled into the third period. With neutral zone skating lanes wide open, the Ducks were able to consistently bring the play to Dallas’s doorstep. That didn’t seem to matter, as Stars’ netminder Antti Niemi slammed the door shut on multiple occasion, which he tends to do against Anaheim.

The veteran Finn could only hold the fort for so long, as Andrew Cogliano rifled a wrist shot short side off of a beautiful feed from Silfverberg. That second goal would prove to be enough for Carlyle’s men, as goaltender John Gibson shut things down to give Anaheim its twenty-first victory of the season. The Ducks now remain tied with the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Divison lead.

Scoring Summary


No scoring


ANA – Jakob Silfverberg (12) assisted by Corey Perry (24) & Sami Vatanen (15)


ANA – Andrew Cogliano (10) assisted by Jakob Silfverberg (16) & Josh Manson (9)

THW Three Stars

First: Jakob Silfverberg (game winning goal, assist)

Second: Andrew Cogliano (goal)

Third: John Gibson (shutout)


Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars

American Airlines Arena – 7:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, January 12

Broadcast channels – FSSW, FSDT

2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 29 Dallas (3) – Detroit (1)


Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche

Pepsi Center– 6:00 p.m. PST on Thursday, January 12

Broadcast channels – PT25 & Altitude Sports

2016-17 Season Series: First matchup of the season