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We are about an eighth of the way through the NHL season and some things are already glaringly obvious. The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes are going to go head-to-head in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes for the June, 2015 NHL Draft, the Western Conference is once again going to dominate, and the Bruins, Penguins, and Canadiens will all fight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. While none of these points is a huge surprise (it essentially represents a carryover from last season), we do expect some surprises along the way which makes handicapping all the more difficult. I look at it as an opportunity as we dive into tonight’s NHL action on Halloween.
Anaheim Ducks @ Dallas Stars
My Pick – STARS TO WIN ( – 125 )
Two teams that are more than familiar with each other after last year’s intense playoff series will meet for the first time this season as the Ducks and Stars will collide in Dallas this evening. The Ducks are fresh off a 2-0 shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues last night while Dallas has been off since dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Blues on Tuesday night. The Stars main issue this season has been giving up too many goals as was the case in their last two losses, one being the 4-3 loss to St. Louis but even more troubling was their 7-5 loss last Saturday on Long Island. However, they may be catching the Ducks at just the right time as Anaheim has just two tallies in their last three games and their top goal scorer in Corey Perry has been held off the scoresheet in three consecutive games after recording two hat tricks in the first two weeks of the season. Perry’s partner in crime Ryan Getzlaf has also been held pointless over the Ducks last three games. On the flip side you have Jamie Benn has been red hot for the Stars are he is riding a seven-game point streak with 11 points over that span. Benn and linemate Tyler Seguin are partnering up to become one of the most dynamic duos the NHL has to offer, and the addition of Jason Spezza has only enhanced the Stars top offensive unit and a powerplay that is currently clicking at a 25% clip. The Stars have not lost in regulation on home ice this season and have been victorious in their last two regular season games against the Ducks that included a 6-3 drubbing of Anaheim last season in Dallas. This game is likely to be filled with some left over emotion from last year’s playoff battle and could be the best game on tap this evening. Roll with Dallas to come out on top and take bragging rights back from the Ducks.