Who'd a thunk it? The Dallas Stars were big underdogs coming into this opening round against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, but you'd never know it after the first two games of this series.
The Stars have been shining while the Ducks have been quacking up, which is why Dallas is heading home with a 2-0 series lead after winning Game 2 by a 5-2 score. Anaheim has been doing itself in by taking too many penalties -- many of them of the undisciplined variety -- and the Stars have made them pay by connecting six times on 13 power play tries so far. It's a problem for the Ducks, a team that needs to play on the edge to be successful and now may not be able to afford to anymore.
A little more overall intensity might help too. Aside from a brief stretch in the second period when they showed some life and erased a two-goal Dallas lead, the Ducks have been listless, mistake prone - - they had 13 giveaways in Game 2 alone -- and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere hasn't been particularly sharp.
At the other, Stars goalie Marty Turco has been very solid and in general, the Stars have been beating Anaheim to the puck and creating a lot of open space with their speed. The Ducks ran to the Cup last season by physically dominating teams, but Dallas has turned that aggressiveness to its advantage.
"We've been able to beat their pressure," Stars captain Brenden Morrow told Canadian network TSN after the game. "They're going to play physical and we want to play with an edge too, but we want to play under that line. Fortunately, they've been over that line and we've capitalized."
It's an interesting reversal of fortune for a Dallas team that seemed like a legitimate Cup contender as recently as February, but staggered down the stretch and entered the playoffs looking like anything but a threat. Now they're going home with a chance to close things out. Ifnothing else, it seems like the Stars are aligning in Dallas.