Hockey Night in Canada's Kelly
This series is going to test Anaheim in the physical
part of the game. They've proven during the regular
season and against Detroit that they can play with anybody
in league. But they haven't been challenged physically
like the Stars will.
J.S. Giguere is the Ducks' strength and they have enough
scoring up front, with Kariya, Oates, Sykora and Rucchin,
to carry them. Other than Ozolinsh, they don't generate
a lot of offence from their defence.
The Stars are deep at every position and they don't
have any real weaknesses. The goaltender match-up is
as good as you'll find in the NHL right now, and both
have something to prove, which will make it more interesting.
Dallas in seven
picks | Harry
Dallas Stars regained their perch atop the Pacific
Division after a forgettable 2001-02 season. Last
year, the Stars missed the playoffs for the first
time since 1995-96 and fired former head coach
Ken Hitchcock in the process.
It was a different story in 2002-03.
new head coach Dave Tippett, the Stars made a
21-point improvement en route to the best record
in the Western Conference.
Stars' strength started between the pipes, where
Marty Turco assumed the top role from the departed
Ed Belfour. Turco was sensational in his first
full season as the No. 1 man. He set a modern
record for goals-against average with a 1.72 mark,
despite missing almost six weeks with an ankle
injury. Turco lost just once in his final 21 starts.
Modano led Dallas in scoring for the fifth straight
season with 85 points. The Stars also had a handful
of other scoring options up front. Bill Guerin,
Jere Lehtinen, Jason Arnott, Brendan Morrow and
Scott Young all notched 20+ goals.
who signed a lucrative free-agent deal in the
off-season, collected 25 goals and 25 assists
in 64 games before suffering a severe right thigh
bruise. He is expected to return sometime late
in the first round of the playoffs.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim quietly put together the
best season in the club's 10-year history. The
Ducks set team records with 40 victories and 95
Anaheim's most valuable player patrolled the pipes
in 2002-03. Jean-Sebastien Giguere had 34 of the
Ducks' 40 wins and posted a 2.30 goals-against
average, .920 save percentage and eight shutouts.
captain Paul Kariya also thrived on a bounty of
scoring options up front. Kariya finished with
81 points in 82 games, a 24-point improvement
from last season over the same number of contests.
arrival of Petr Sykora (34 goals), Adam Oates
(45 points in 67 games) and the mid-season acquisition
of offensive-minded defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh
provided the extra scoring punch to help Kariya.
Ducks also added forwards Rob Niedermayer and
Steve Thomas for their playoff run at the March
trade deadline. Thomas turned red-hot, scoring
13 points 13 in 12 outings, including three game-winning
Dallas won the season series 3-1-1
The regular season series between the Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks is a reflection of the Ducks' gradual improvement over the course of the year.
Dallas and Anaheim met five times during the regular season. The Stars won the series, But those numbers don't tell the whole story.
In the first two meetings, the Stars easily beat the Ducks, 4-2 and 4-0. Bill Guerin potted two goals and had two assists in the first game and Marty Turco made 31 saves to earn the shutout in the second.
In the second half of the season, the games were much closer.
The third game at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim ended in a 1-1 draw. The Ducks then won the fourth game 4-2 at the American Airlines Center. Paul Kariya had three assists in the game.
In the final game, the Stars squeaked by the Ducks 2-1 back in Big D.
This is only the third time Anaheim has made it to the playoffs in its 10-year history. The team has never made it past the second round.
The Stars are back in the playoffs after failing to qualify for the post-season last year. Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and lost in the final the following year.
Dallas and the Anaheim have never met in the playoffs. But the Ducks have been given an immense mental boost with their stunning sweep of defending Cup champs in Round 1.
» (6) Minnesota
vs (7) Anaheim
Ottawa vs (2) New Jersey
react after winning their third Stanley Cup in the last decade.