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Dan Ellis, Stars shut out NHL-leading Ducks 2-0
Question of the Day
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Dan Ellis learned a few things about the Anaheim Ducks’ top scorers during 1½ seasons as the team’s backup goalie, and he put all that knowledge to work in a breakthrough victory for the Dallas Stars.
Ellis played in 23 games as a backup in Anaheim from February 2011 to 2012, but did his best work while absorbing innumerable shots in practice from Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne.
Ellis used that familiarity throughout his second victory over the Ducks this season, even denying Perry’s point-blank chance in the final minute by getting an outstretched pad in front of an open net.
“I’ve practiced with them, and I understand some things they like to do,” Ellis said with a smile.
Captain Jamie Benn added an empty-net goal with 28 seconds left for the Stars, who snapped a five-game road skid with one of their biggest wins of a mediocre season.
Ellis had sat out the Stars‘ previous nine games since Jan. 12, and he acknowledged a bit of game rust in his return. But Kari Lehtonen’s veteran backup posted Dallas’ third shutout victory in its last six games, and coach Lindy Ruff said Ellis probably will get more playing time in the final week before Lehtonen and Ruff head to the Olympics.
“He gave us a rock-solid game,” Ruff said of Ellis. “We only had a couple of big breakdowns, and he was there for us.”
“I loved my time here,” Ellis said. “It’s still the best place I’ve ever played and lived in, but it was good to get these two points for us.”
Hiller stopped 25 shots for the NHL-leading Ducks, who were shut out for the first time all season. Anaheim has lost three of five at Honda Center after opening the season 20-0-2 at home.
At the start of a four-game stretch over eight days before the Olympic break, the grind of the regular season is finally hitting the Ducks after two spectacular months. Anaheim is 4-4 since Jan. 15, but still five points ahead of defending champion Chicago atop the overall standings.
“We didn’t have any sustained pressure,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Against a team like Dallas, you have to win the board battles. If you don’t win them, their speed is so good, it’s going to be a real tough game for you.”
The Ducks played without third-leading scorer Nick Bonino after the versatile center injured his wrist. Boudreau also scratched healthy offense-minded forwards Dustin Penner and Kyle Palmieri.
While Anaheim’s roll has slowed, Dallas is looking to build momentum into the break during a three-game West Coast trip over the next five days. The Stars began the day in an 11th-place tie in the Western Conference.
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