After the 2nd period:
Dallas Stars 4, Ducks 3
The good: The best players usually step up at the most important times. Corey Perry came up with a huge short-handed goal with 1:17 left in the period to draw the Ducks back within a point in this ultra-important game. A regulation victory and the Ducks, Kings and Phoenix Coyotes clinch playoffs berths in the Western Conference. The Stars were on their fourth power play of the period and sixth of the game when Perry stole the puck from Jamie Langenbrunner at the red line, raced down left side and flicked a nice little backhand just over the right shoulder of goalie Kari Lehtonen for his league-leading 47th goal of the season. It was also the fourth short-handed goal of the season for Perry, setting a club record. Ducks goalkeeper Ray Emery has stopped just 21 of 25 shots but he has been faced with a barrage of power plays and spent considerable time tracking the puck in his own end.
The bad: With the score still tied, 2-2, the Ducks had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:20 but couldn’t cash in. Dallas took a 3-2 lead about seven minutes into the period after cycling the puck down low until Brenden Morrow got open in the slot. He took a pass from Langenbrunner and sent a blast past the glove side of Emery. The Ducks then committed four consecutive penalties. The Ducks killed the first two but the Stars went on a 19-second 5-on-3 after Toni Lydman was called for high-sticking. The Ducks wiped out the two-man advantage but Dallas scored five seconds later when Mike Ribeiro used his chest to stop a centering pass from Brad Richards, ala David Beckham. The puck fell at his feet and he poked it into the net for a 4-2 lead.
The in between: The Chicago Blackhawks lost to Tampa Bay, 2-0, earlier Sunday, so the Ducks will still be in seventh place in the Western Conference at the end of the night, regardless of how this game turns out. Unfortunately, if they can’t come back, they’ll be that much closer to ninth.