As I sit here in my college library writing this article, I am still in denial. I still wonder what went wrong in the series, and wonder why a team with the best record in the NHL since February fifth lost in the first round. You don't have to go far to find these reasons.
The Ducks had home ice for the series and did not take full advantage of it, being outscored a combined 9-2 in games one and two. The Ducks promptly fell into a huge 2-0 deficit.
Credit must be given where credit is due. The Stars did a heck of a job on the power play in games one and two. The Ducks did not play very smart. They were unable to keep their composure while taking stupid penalties, allowing Dallas to capitalize on their man advantage. The Ducks' penalty kill did not show up. Dallas played textbook hockey while on special teams, limiting Anaheim's chances.
Excluding game five, Anaheim only scored one third-period goal in the entire series. How can you expect to win when you're not scoring goals? In game three, the Stars outscored Anaheim in the third period 2-0, luckily for the Ducks, they had score four goals by the end of the second period.
Not only did they not score, but in the first two minutes or so of the third period, in what can be argued as the most important periods of the series, Anaheim did not show up.
Dallas went up 2-1 in the early goings of the third and would eventually win 4-1. Plays like Corey Perry not picking up the trailer, Stephane Robidas, and allowing the Stars to take the lead.
Where were the Stars?
No, not Dallas. Where were Anaheim's big-name players when they were needed? Players like Chris Kunitz, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ryan Getzlaf? Between the three of them, they combined for two goals. Oh yeah, and did I mention that those two goals were both scored by Ryan Getzlaf?
What's Next For Anaheim?
After making the playoffs for the third-straight season and posting back to back 100-point seasons, the Ducks have a little bit of work on their hands.
The club's first goal this summer should be to re-sign Corey Perry. The third-year player lead the team in goals, and was second in points this season (He also missed the final six weeks of the season). He deserves a raise.
The club is also going to be forced with making Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer to make an early decision on retirement. Burke doesn't want to be sitting, wondering what they are going to do. The two superstars must make their decisions earlier, so that Anaheim has time to make necessary changes over the offseason.
Speed! We need more speed! We did not win the cup in 2007 because we were slow and strong. We had quick and speedy players that had chemistry together! Bring back the magic!