Five things to watch: Lack of special teams success not hurting Anaheim Duck

The Hockey News

By Nic Carafa, Garrett Perry and Curtis Ng
There may be only one game on the NHL schedule tonight, but that won’t slow down our five points. Here’s an in depth five things to watch in the Dallas-Anaheim game.

Hometown Hurt
When the Dallas Stars faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks tonight at the American Airlines Center they will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak at home. The Stars have not won on home ice since Oct. 24 and have lost two in a row for the first time this month. The Stars have been outscored 9-3 combined in their past two games, both of which were losses to St. Louis (6-1) and the Rangers (3-2), despite managing 78 shots on net. Dallas will hope to get its power play back on track, as they are 1-for-29 at home and rank near the bottom of the league with an 11.5 percent conversion rate.

Leader of the Flock
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has registered seven goals and 11 points in his past seven games. His 27 points on the season have him tied for fourth in league scoring with Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin. You could consider Getzlaf Captain Clutch: he may not have the triple-deke that the original Mighty Ducks captain Charlie Conway had, but his five game-winning goals are tops in the league. Teammate Corey Perry also has five.

Western Cooking
The Ducks hold the best record versus the Western Conference so far this season (8-1-0). They can blame the Central Division and the Colorado Avalanche for that one blemish, but don’t underestimate the Stars. Five of their 11 wins this season have come against the Pacific Division. Now if only they could play better against their own group. Dallas’ 1-4-2 record against the Central could be one reason why they’re currently sitting last.

Plus Ducks
Five of the league’s top 10 in plus-minus are Ducks, including the No. 1 Dustin Penner, who is plus-18. Next up are Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin at plus-15, followed by rookie Hampus Lindholm and Corey Perry at plus-14 and plus-13, respectively. Luca Sbisa owns a team-worst minus-five. Jamie Benn leads the Dallas Stars with a plus-8 rating while Erik Cole is a minus-12.

Who needs special teams?
Dallas and Anaheim’s special teams are among the league’s worst, but in the latter’s case, it hasn’t seemed to affect them much. Following a five-game losing streak earlier this month, the Ducks won a couple and sit third in the very strong Western Conference. The Stars are 12th in the West, but they’d be eighth in the East. Anaheim’s power play and penalty kill are 25th in the league, operating at 14.4 and 77.9 percent, respectively. Dallas’ power play and penalty kill are 29th and 20th, working at an 11.5 and 80.3 percent efficiency.