Stars at Ducks
Ryan Miller has excelled as a starter throughout the majority of his distinguished career, but the 37-year-old has also fared well in relief this season for the Anaheim Ducks. With coach Randy Carlyle deeming John Gibson as day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Miller likely will get the nod on Wednesday as the Ducks host the Dallas Stars.
"Pitchers can transition their career, I guess. Maybe I can as a goalie," Miller told the Orange County Register after stepping in for Gibson for the fourth time and turning aside all 20 shots he faced in a 2-0 victory versus Vegas on Monday. Miller owns a sterling 3-0-1 mark at home with a 1.27 goals-against average and .947 save percentage for Anaheim, which has won three in a row overall and is 5-1-1 in its last seven to move into fourth place in the congested Pacific Division. Dallas began the month with five straight victories before falling for the second time in three contests on Sunday when it opened a three-game trek through California with a 5-2 setback at San Jose. The Stars won two of the three meetings last season, although Gibson made 34 saves in a 2-0 victory for the Ducks in the teams' lone matchup at the Honda Center.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Dallas), Prime (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE STARS (34-21-4): Martin Hanzal sat out versus the Sharks with what coach Ken Hitchcock labeled as "general soreness," although the 31-year-old could return in time to face the Ducks. "We felt he wasn't at a high enough percentage to play," Hitchcock said. "With two days off, we opted to rest him and hopefully get a healthier player for Wednesday." Gemel Smith returned to the lineup in Hanzal's absence and scored a goal to mark his second straight strong performance.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (30-20-11): Rickard Rakell notched a pair of assists versus Vegas to increase his point total to a team-best 48, with 12 (four goals, eight assists) coming in the past 11 games. Rakell, however, hasn't scored a goal in six straight contests while captain Ryan Getzlaf has also struggled, prompting general manager Bob Murray to speak out on the two offensive threats. "We need to see some desperation here," Murray said. "The big boys have got to lead the way. They've got to lead the way with some desperation."
1. Dallas captain Jamie Benn registered a team-high four points (one goal, three assists) in two games against Anaheim last season.
2. The Ducks converted just 1 of 13 opportunities on the power play in the last six contests overall and went 2-for-14 in three encounters versus the Stars last season.
3. Dallas has surrendered the first goal in eight of its last 10 games.