DALLAS—The Ducks looked to have the game in hand after 20 minutes, but the Stars had time on their side. The final 40 minutes saw Anaheim allow four straight, to blow Game 4 in a 4-2 loss to Dallas at the American Airline Arena on Wednesday night.
The Stars fight to even up with the Ducks came at a time where home advantage plays a serious role for the team down, but not out. Anaheimmade their strike early in the first period taking the game into the Dallas end for the first five minutes, but finding no vulnerability from goaltender Kari Lehtonen. On a rebound play in front of the Dallas net, Lehtonen made the quick grab to put the puck under control and blow the whistle to end the lengthy span of even strength hockey. Cam Fowler made his attempt later as he fired a shot where that failed, but went to Patrick Maroon for a wrap around attempt that was also stopped by the netminder.
The Stars finally got their chance at scoring opportunities with Vernon Fiddler taking a shot and running into Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen causing a ruckus with the Anaheim defense. The scuffle lit a fire under the Ducks as Bryan Allen fired a shot from the blue line to travel high on the slot gaining his first goal of the playoffs in five seasons. Maroon helped make it a 2-0 lead on Corey Perry’s scoring chance that took a bounce and deflected off the body for the commanding lead. Getting out ahead was the best thing the Ducks could have done, but the remaining periods saw a different outcome.
A win of the puck on the faceoff inside the neutral zone gave Captain Jamie Benn center stage. He scored unassisted, to cut the Ducks lead in half 27 seconds into the second period. The Stars would keep the speed up on the Ducks who continued to slow down. They made a huge mistake while on a change giving Dallas a 5 on 3 rush. That left Fiddler to flip the puck up into an open wide on the stick side of Andersen erasing the Anaheim lead. The damage to the Ducks showed greatly in the second period stats, where the team saw three shots on net while the Stars shot 16. It was a breakdown of every part of the game and without a solution, it could only get worse.
The Ducks came into the third period looking much like they did in the second with a sloppy defense and a hard time maintaining puck possession when they had it. It sent the Stars on a hunt for the easy takeaways setting up the inevitable for Andersen. Cody Eakin made it 3-2 on a break where he slid through the closing defenseman where his shot off the post went in for his first. Alex Goligoski grew the margin to a pair just 82 seconds later, after an open net on the stick side became home to Goligoski’s line drive.
The situation became an insult to injury as a Dallas left winger head butted Kyle Palmieri putting the Ducks on their third power play. For the Ducks, their unit on the man advantage was playing below par and threw another chance out the window. Frustration took over on the Ducks as Perry threw Eakin into the boards. Though the Ducks killed off further attempts for Dallasto score on the power play, the penalty kill didn’t solve the current score. A fight broke out between Maroon and Fiddler with 2:10 left to play sparking Perry to throw down with Antoine Russel sending both pairs to the bench. Trevor Daley and Palmieri were both sent off the ice for game misconducts following their earlier actions. The sounds of the horn gave Dallas the win, but not before cheap shots were delivered.
Bryan Allen went after Ryan Garbutt in front of the Dallas net with Perreault getting into the action and being wrestled back by Jordie Benn. The fight broke up, but didn’t change the present situation. With the series tied, the Ducks will have to use their home advantage to good use and stave off any further losses to the Stars as Game 5 is set for Friday night.