Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anaheim Ducks 3 at Dallas Stars 6 - November 26, 2013


I hadn't checked the NHL schedule this week to see if Dallas would be home while I was in town for the Cowboys on Thankgiving Day. Having seen them host Toronto a couple of years ago (also at Thanksgiving), I didn't have that much interest. However, I am an addict of sorts when it comes to live sports, so I had a quick glance at the schedule the night before I arrived and was amazed to see that Dallas would host the only NHL game on Tuesday night. With the Pacific-leading Ducks in town, it was a fairly compelling matchup. I had a 6-hour drive from Miami (Oklahoma), which was made a bit longer by horrendous Dallas traffic, but I arrived at my hotel around 4pm. I was staying very close to the Centerport TRE station, which offers return trips to Victory Station next to the American Airlines Center for just $5. After a few minutes of deliberation, I headed into town, unable to rest at the hotel when NHL hockey is just minutes away.



Tickets were available at the box office for just $15, but I tried to find something a bit cheaper. Scalpers were not being honest (surprise!), telling me the game was sold out, so I informed them that they were mistaken and offered to pay $10 for a lower seat. They found this both amusing and annoying, but one guy told me that the stadium would be empty and you could sit anywhere. Taking this into account, I bought the cheapie at the box office (giving the NHL my money unfortunately). It was in the top row, not a bad view actually, equivalent to the press box across the way.



You will notice all those empty seats, but I enjoyed being high up with plenty of room all around. In the third period, I moved to a seat behind the Ducks' net, which was a good move, but more on that shortly.



I wanted to see Dallas' new uniforms, which appeared quite ugly when I saw them previewed, but they were wearing their road whites for some reason. These aren't so bad, as you can see with goalie Dan Ellis below. Ellis was making his first start in 10 games as Kari Lehtonen has been seeing the bulk of the workload this year.



The Ducks can't say their uniforms are that great either, quite garish as you can see on Jonas Hiller.



The Game

Anaheim scored first when Emerson Etem converted a goalmouth pass midway at 6:06. It was his 6th of the season, and the Devils immediately inquired as to his availability (6 at 6:06, get it?). For me, it was great to see Etem score as he had played for Medicine Hat when I visited there just last year. That's him lining up next to Ray Whitney, who is a full 20 years older.



The Stars tied it in the second when Antoine Roussel had one bounce off his skate. There was no kicking motion, so "good goal". The Ducks regained the lead when Nick Bonino beat Ellis from a sharp angle with just 35 seconds left in the frame. Several fans decided to depart at that time, and I am sure they regretted their decision when they got home.



Just past the 5-minute mark of the third period, Cody Eakin snapped home a perfect pass from Erik Cole to tie the game. A mere 25 seconds later, Stephane Robidas had shot deflect over Hiller's shoulder, and 28 seconds after that, Ryan Garbutt blew by Cam Fowler and popped one into the top shelf. Three goals in 53 seconds and the Stars suddenly were up 4-2. Another Roussel goal six minutes later made it 5-2 (celebration above) and essentially clinched the game. Dustin Penner added a power play marker for Anaheim, but an empty netter by Alex Chiasson gave us the 6-3 final.



An entertaining game after all and well worth the trip downtown.

Notes

A player to watch is Valeri Nichushkin of Dallas, the 10th overall pick. He didn't appear on the scoresheet but at 18, he is still learning the game, not to mention English. Look for him to be an all-star in a few seasons, he was sneaky fast and good with the puck. Definitely a good reason to follow the Stars as they try to climb back to elite status.

Best,

Sean

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