Posted on April 21, 2008 10:43 AM | Permalink
DALLAS - The Dallas Stars broke a trend by ending four years of frustration.
The Anaheim Ducks kept a trend by not getting past the first round of the playoffs.
Dallas, which had not advanced out of the first round since 2003, took a series at home for the first time ever at AAC and first time at home since the 2000 Western Conference Finals. Anaheim continued a trend of the defending Stanley Cup champion losing in the first round or before.
Colorado was the last team to advance past the first round in 2002.
"It's very gratifying for a team that has been through a lot," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "They guys that have been here the last few years have been through a lot. The young guys, very gratifying for them. It's the first step in a mission that we hope will extend for a very long time."
The Stars will have to await the winner of Game 7 between Calgary and San Jose to determine their second round opponent. Dallas (the fifth seed) will travel to San Jose if the Sharks win or they will play host to Colorado if Calgary wins.
Dallas will take the next two days off from practice. The status of defencemen Sergei Zubov (sports hernia) and Philippe Boucher (hip strain) will be updated at that time.
Defenceman Stephane Robidas capped a memorable series with a goal and an assist to finish with six points (among the leaders in defensemen scoring in the first round). Robidas, who broke his nose in Game 5 when he was hit in the visor with a hard clearing shot, earned a ton of respect from his teammates for playing through the injury.
He's one of the most underrated players I've ever played with," Stars centre Mike Modano said.
While coach Dave Tippett added:
"I was last in line during the handshakes and Robi was right in front of me, and it was interesting to hear the comments he was getting from Anaheim players about what kind of player he is. He epitomizes our game. He is one of the best teammates you are ever going to find. He will go right through a wall to help the team win. He'll take pucks in the face to help the team win. He'll stuff cotton in his nose to make sure he is back to make sure he is back for a power play. He is the epitome of what is great about our game.
We all recognize it in our room, but to hear those Anaheim players say that to him that's gratifying. That's gratifying for me that this guy is part of our game."
Stars' depth too much for Ducks
The Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Jere Lehtinen continues to be the Stars' best, and Ribeiro is among the leaders in playoff scoring with eight points, but Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he made some of his lineup changes because of the play of the Joel Lundqvist-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson line.
Richards, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Tampa Bay, had five points in six games in the series.
"We're trying to match the opposition to a degree," Carlyle said before Game 6. "They've had some of their players step up. Specifically Richards, Lundqvist and Eriksson have become more of an offensive force. Their contributions, statistics and ice time have gone up a lot."
Ducks end disappointing season
The Ducks had a disappointing finish, after rallying to get the fourth seed in the West, they lost home ice in the first two games of the series and couldn't get it back. They had a hectic season in which both Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne returned from retirement. Whether either will continue playing is a big question that the team wasn't ready to answer on Sunday.
"Every guy gave everything they had," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "You thank them for their work ethic over the course of the season, but their lack of execution in the playoffs was a concern and we'll address that in the off-season."
Scott Niedermayer said the team had much higher goals.
"It's disappointing, because we believe we could do better,'' he said. "Our sights were set higher than this.''
While Selanne added: "This is not a very happy ending. I think the work ethic is there. When you give everything you have, you can't ask for more than that. They did things better. They deserve this.''
He said it
"It would be easy to feel good and stop right here, but that's not the case. For all we've been through, we talk about doing what we're capable of and not just one series. We want to win it all. That's why it's been so disappointing over the years."
- Stars goalie Marty Turco on advancing past the first round for the first time since 2003.