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Round 1: Stars vs. Ducks NHL Playoff Series Gambling Prediction & Lines

NHL Playoffs – Dallas vs Anaheim Picks

NHL Playoffs First Round Preview – Ducks vs. Stars

The Anaheim Ducks enter the NHL playoffs as one of the best teams in the Western Conference for the second year in a row, hoping to erase a disappointing first round exit from last year’s playoffs.

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Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup
#1 Anaheim Ducks 9/1
#4 Dallas Stars 50/1

Odds to Win the 2014 Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks 5/1
Dallas Stars 22/1
Stars Series Prices +165
Ducks Series Prices -190

This year they will attempt to clear the first round hurdle that is the upstart Dallas Stars who brought on a new coach and a new star player and qualified for the postseason for the first time in six years. Like last year the Ducks start the playoffs after an unflattering stretch run. Dallas and Anaheim were both among the league leaders in offense in 2013-2014 – a flurry of goals are expected in what should be a run-and-gun first round matchup.

The Anaheim Ducks have one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the league entering play – Corey Perry and MVP candidate Ryan Getzlaf were stellar all season long and promise to be a handful for their opposition going forward. Patrick Maroon, Jakob Silfverberg, Emerson Etem, Nick Bonino, Saku Koivu, Matthieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne provide a depth that the Ducks have not enjoyed in quite some time. Simply put – the Ducks can and will score goals rolling four lines with confidence.

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Defensively the Ducks have been OK which has been good enough all season in large part due to a stout offense. Cam Fowler and Stephane Robidas, who came over from Dallas at the trade deadline are decent #1 and #2 guys but there are question marks as to how they will hold up with the grind that is the Stanley Cup playoffs. Depth behind these two is also a question mark. That leaves perhaps the biggest X-factor for the Ducks – goaltending.
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Jonas Hiller should be the man for the Ducks but his play down the stretch hardly inspires confidence. Frederik Andersen went 20-5 this season in his rookie campaign but will likely take a backseat in favor of the more experienced Hiller. John Gibson is likely the odd man out – he too was better than Hiller down the stretch this season. Goaltending can make or break a team in the playoffs – just as the Penguins so keep an eye on the Ducks keepers as they try to keep the Ducks in games.

The Dallas Stars, as mentioned, were very good offensively during the regular season and Tyler Seguin is the main reason why. He had 80 points in his first season in Dallas and the combination of him and Jamie Benn (79 points) has been magic the whole season. Rookies Alex Chiasson and Valeri Nichushkin provided some unforeseen depth at forward this past season while Ryan Whitney, Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff provide the Stars with solid playoff experience. Dallas is certainly formidable up front and should give the Ducks sketchy defense all they can handle in the first round.

The Dallas defense is going to be under fire – how they hold up will likely be the determining factor for Dallas. Alex Goligoski has been remarkable playing alongside Trevor Daley – they will be matched up against Anaheim’s dynamic duo – advantage Ducks! Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn and Sergei Gonchar fill out a defensive unit that is OK – not great but have taking their games to an unexpected level.

Like the Ducks, the Starts biggest X-factor is between the pipes. Kari Lehtonen was solid with a 2.41 GAA and .919 save percentage – he got better as the season came to a close. He has little experience in the playoffs and will have to be the hero if Dallas hopes to advance. Waiting in the wings is backup Tim Thomas – we all know about what he can do in the postseason! Thomas has a 2.07 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 50 postseason games, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

The Dallas Stars were a nice story this season, particularly down the stretch but this series looks like the biggest mismatch of the 2014 playoffs. Sketchy defense will likely plague the Stars and the lack of top tier depth will also lead to their undoing. Anaheim is motivated team and by far the more talented squad in this first round series. This may be the easiest of the first round series to call.

Take the Ducks to win in five games.

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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