DALLAS (AP) – Lindy Ruff figures anyone who has watched the Dallas Stars in their first two playoff games should know they won’t quit.
Even in a big hole against top-seeded Anaheim before their first home playoff game in six years.
“It doesn’t feel like an 0-2 series. We definitely haven’t been dominated,” said Ruff, the veteran coach in his first season on the Dallas bench. “In fact, the last game we dominated, we just didn’t win. So we’ve got to clean up some of our mistakes and take advantage of some of those key opportunities.”
After a pair of one-goal losses in Anaheim, the Stars are home for Game 3 Monday night for their first postseason game at the American Airlines Center since May 19, 2008 — a span of 2,162 days. That was a 4-1 loss to Detroit in the clinching Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, two weeks after the Stars wrapped up their previous series with a Game 6 win at home, 2-1 in four overtimes against San Jose.
The Stars outshot Anaheim 36-19 in the 3-2 loss in Game 2, when Dallas had a 15-2 edge in a third-period flurry. But Ducks rookie goalie Frederik Andersen finished with 34 saves in his second postseason start.
“It’s going to be tough games in Dallas. … We’re going to have to be ready for a great atmosphere for them with their fans,” Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said. “That’s by far the most offensive we’ve seen them play right in the series. The games right now are so intense, but the guys are ready.”
Ten Dallas players have made their postseason debuts in this series, which started with Anaheim jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the opener before holding on for a 4-3 victory.
“The second half of the first game was more of the way we wanted to play and then I thought we played pretty good in the second game,'” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “We just made a couple too many mistakes and they capitalized on it.”
Here are five things to watch in Game 3 of the series:
GETZLAF AND PERRY: Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf has two goals and two assists in the series. There was also the slap shot to the jaw in the opener and the birth of his third child before Game 2, when he scored a first-period goal and set up Cogliano’s short-handed score. And Corey Perry, the Canadian Olympic gold medalist who was the NHL’s second-leading goal-scorer this season behind only Alex Ovechkin, finally scored his first goal in 10 playoff games since 2011.
“They’ve had the best shooting percentage in the league and I see why. They don’t need a lot of chances,” Ruff said of Getzlaf and Perry. “We gave each of them one good opportunity. I don’t know if they had another one. And they both scored.”
DUCK STOPPER: Andersen got the starting nod in net for Anaheim ahead of Jonas Hiller, who struggled and was benched after winning 29 regular-season games, and fellow rookie John Gibson. Andersen has stopped 66 of 71 shots in two postseason wins.
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, in his 10th NHL season, is still looking for his first playoff victory. He is 0-4, including 0-2 with Atlanta in 2007, with a 4.58 goals against average and .858 save percentage.
“I think he’s been victimized a little bit by some of our poor turnovers. I think we’ve hung him out to dry,” Ruff said. “You either get a big save or it goes in the back of the net.”
STARS HOME: Dallas was 8-1-1 in its last 10 home games during the regular season, including a 3-0 win over St. Louis in the home finale to clinch the wild-card spot. The Stars were 23-11-7 at home this season.
“I think it shows in our record. We feel comfortable playing in there,” Benn said. “We’ve got to find way to win this next game there.”
Anaheim had 25 road wins during the regular season, tied with the New York Rangers for the second-most in the league, one behind Colorado.
POWER SHORTAGE: The Stars are only 2 of 11 on power-play opportunities in this series. They were 1 of 6 in Game 2, including the final 3 minutes with Lehtonen on the bench and Dallas with an extra skater. And they gave up a shorthanded goal early in the third period that put the Ducks up 3-1. Anaheim is 2 of 8 on power plays.
LONG TIME FOR BOTH: The Ducks haven’t won a playoff series since 2009, a year after Dallas’ last postseason appearance. Their last series victory was over San Jose five years ago, before losing in the second round to Detroit, and dropping first-round series in 2011 and last year.
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