The Dallas Stars won their previous two games in Dallas by scores of 3-0 and 4-2. This tied the series with the Anaheim Ducks at two games apiece.
The Anaheim Ducks haven’t particularly cared for the style of play that Dallas has been executing, however. Cody Eakin, Antoine Roussel, and Ryan Garbutt’s line has been specifically called out for their physical play.
Lindy Ruff described that he has no problem with how the games are being played. In fact he stated in the post game interview, “that’s just playoff hockey.” Ruff, being the playoff hockey style enthusiast that he is, I’m sure has no intentions of backing off one bit. With a young, fast, aggressive team, do you blame him?
The checking line for Dallas has especially stepped up to the task. They’re not only playing a physical game, but they are also seeing the majority of the shifts against the top Ducks line in an attempt to get in the heads of the Ducks. And it’s 100% working thus far.
The line has also been effective offensively. Eakin and Roussel both have 3 points, while Garbutt has 2 goals.
Corey Perry has openly displayed his dislike of this style of hockey as he challenged Roussel to a fight near the end of game 4, ultimately resulting in the feisty Roussel on top of the veteran Perry who ended up on his back.
The end of the game involved the Ducks openly displaying more hatred for this line. Following the final buzzer, 2 Ducks players ganged up on Garbutt. This only shows one thing to the trio; they are winning right now. The series may be tied up, but Anaheim can’t stop focusing on these players.
If Anaheim doesn’t figure out a way to get back to their own game and ignore this line, we may see a repeat of last year’s playoffs which resulted in an early exit from the playoffs for the Anaheim Ducks.
Game 5 is this Friday in Anaheim, with Game 6 being held in Dallas on Sunday.
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