One of the most compelling hooks of the Ducks-Stars series that resumes tonight in Dallas (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN) is that it features four of the NHL’s top-eight scorers.
So far, three of them have shown up to play.
Ryan Getzlaf has given a good account of himself, just as you’d expect. He’s leading the Ducks in scoring with two goals and four points through the first three games. He’s established his physical presence at both ends of the ice. And he’s doing all that while battling through a gruesome (and surely painful) injury he picked up while blocking a slapper with his face in the frantic final moments Game 1.
Corey Perry? He leads Anaheim in both shots (11) and punches taken (about 400). That last stat is highly unofficial, but it’s a good indication of how involved he’s been in the series. The Stars’ D-men have turned the blue paint in front of goalie Kari Lehtonen into Central Park at midnight, mugging Perry every time he skates by, but he keeps coming back, wallet in hand. He’s paying the price.
And then there’s Jamie Benn, who is easily the most committed forward in this series. Dallas’ captain had never skated in the NHL postseason prior to last Thursday, but he’s playing like these are the games he’s been waiting for his whole life.
Beast-mode doesn’t begin to capture the impact that Benn has had. When the Stars were on their heels in Game 1, he antied up with a bone-jarring open-ice hit that set Getzlaf’s teeth on vibrate. In Game 2, he rocked Perry so hard that his Olympic linemate retaliated with a nasty spear to his lower midsection.