While the Anaheim Ducks head to Dallas this week with a commanding 2-0 game lead in the playoff series against the Dallas Stars, that series stat is not necessarily a correct indication of the Stars’ stellar effort to keep themselves in vying position for a chance at the Stanley Cup. Despite taking two road losses, Dallas has not wavered with major mistakes thus far against a prominently deeper Ducks team.
In fact, it’s Anaheim going into the Texan portion of this playoff series with a bit of catching up to do in terms of team efficiency. Without the advantage of a home crowd attempting to paint Orange County its title color and whatever magic the boards in Honda Center have provided this team with throughout the regular season, the Ducks now have to rely solely on their roster — a roster that has seen a few unnecessary struggles in the first two games of the series.
With a injuries to fill positions for and perhaps in preparation to shake things up for the better, the Ducks announced a roster changes on Sunday, mainly with the call to bring right winger Emerson Etem up after spending most of the regular season playing for Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals.
Despite time away from the NHL level, few Ducks fans can forget the powerhouse role Etem played last postseason even though they were ousted in the first round on the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings.
The smart move of calling Etem up of course comes alongside a few send-downs. Defenseman Sami Vatanen will now play for the Admirals (amidst many justified protests from the Anaheim faithful) ,and rookie goaltender John Gibson will join Norfolk as well. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before Anaheim had to rid the roster of its third goalie which is sad considering Gibson’s outstanding play during his NHL debut in the Ducks’ last few games of the regular season.
While the beginning of the playoffs is certainly not the time to make huge changes to a team clearly capable of insurmountable success, it is the time for Anaheim to quick fix the somewhat sour moments (and huge lead giveaways) this team has displayed against Dallas thus far — all a part of the road that will keep this team rolling on to their unfinished business from last season.