DALLAS — It's taken them longer than they wanted, but the Ducks have found a formula to beat the fast, physical Dallas Stars.
Now it's just a matter of proving it translates to the enemy ground of American Airlines Center.
"You want to finish it here. That's our mind-set," Ducks forward Corey Perry said Saturday.
Friday's 6-2 victory in Anaheim gave the Western Conference top-seeded Ducks a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series with Game 6 Sunday in Dallas, where both of the Ducks' losses have occurred.
Fresh in the Ducks' minds is the fact they outhit the eighth-seeded Stars, 40-22, saw rookie goalie Frederik Andersen stand tall through second-period pressure to finish with 34 saves, and that they made the Stars pay for their shenanigans with four power-play goals.
"[For] 60 minutes, it was, 'Let's continue doing it,'" said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau. "We've got an idea of how we have to play to win."
Added Perry: "That's our game right there. We were physical, put the puck deep [in the Dallas zone], finished our checks. It's not rocket science. When we play that way, we're going to be successful."
Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa opened Friday's game with a big hit on Stars center Vernon Fiddler and got the best of a third-period fight with Shawn Horcoff.
Sbisa said his teammates steered toward checking and working hard for pucks rather than obsessing about Dallas' speed and occasionally sinister intentions.
One of the best examples of that effort, center Saku Koivu said, was killing all seven penalties the Ducks committed.
"It takes a few games to figure out which way you need to play," Sbisa said. "We realized if we play the way that got us to the first spot in the West, we're going to be fine. If we play to our capabilities, no team can beat us."
That was particularly true as the Ducks found surprising power-play success Friday after struggling mightily at times with a man advantage during the season.
"We have so much talent on both units," center Nick Bonino said after scoring the opening goal.
Now, Bonino said, the Ducks just need to further dampen Dallas' speed in transition — Stars center Jamie Benn has four goals in the series.
"We know their crowd will be into it, that those guys will be into it and probably play a different game," Boudreau said. "Time will tell."
Friday's game was fraught with 27 penalties, including Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt's first-period game misconduct and spearing for jamming his stick to Perry's groin region.
Perry on Saturday maintained the same stone-faced response the Ducks displayed Friday when asked about the NHL fining Garbutt $1,474.36 for the spear.
"It's just something that happened," he said, exuding an attitude that those matters are best tended to on the ice.
Boudreau said he was pleased to see the Ducks make Garbutt and fellow instigator Antoine Roussel watch Anaheim score goals after their frequent "pot shots" this series.
"You want to strike fear into them that if they take penalties, we're going to capitalize," said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler.
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