Ducks vs. Red Wings 2nd-round preview

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The Blogs

Battle of California vs. Winging It In Motown

The Storyline

Detroit couldn't have had a better opening round of the playoffs, dismissing the Columbus Blue Jackets with a convincing sweep, while the Ducks are already being heralded as "the best 8th-seed team ever" following their 1st-round victory over the San Jose Sharks. Expect high-quality, intense action between two teams that met in a classic series in the 2007 playoffs, which Anaheim won en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

The Numbers

Anaheim Detroit
  Record 42-33-7 17th 51-21-10 3rd
  Pts % 0.555 17th 0.683 3rd
  Goals For/Game 2.90 14th 3.52 1st
  Goals Against/Game 2.87 18th 2.93 19th
  5-on-5 GF/GA 1.09 9th 1.20 4th
  PP% 23.6 4th 25.5 1st
  PK% 79.7 23rd 78.3 25th
  Shots/Game 30.3 11th 36.2 1st
  Shots Against/Game 30.5 19th 27.7 2nd
  FO % 49.8 17th 55.1 1st

Detroit holds a clear edge in just about every territory, but give credit to the Ducks for the adjustments they made at the trade deadline. While most observers reckoned that the team was looking ahead towards the free agency period, new additions like Ryan Whitney and the return of Francois Beauchemain from injury have deepened and solidified a top-notch defense corps. I suspect the Anaheim skaters won't be totally mismatched, as would otherwise appear to be the case here.

Goaltending

Anaheim


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere 46 2458 19 18 6 3 127 3.10 1274 1147 .900 2
2008 - Jonas Hiller 46 2486 23 15 1 6 99 2.39 1217 1118 .919 4

Detroit


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Ty Conklin 40 2246 25 11 2 4 94 2.51 1033 939 .909 6
2008 - Chris Osgood 46 2663 26 9 8 0 137 3.09 1208 1071 .887 2

Anaheim made the gutsy decision to go with Jonas Hiller to start the playoffs, and he hasn't disappointed. Chris Osgood has, for now, shaken off criticism based on his awful regular season results, but Anaheim should pose more of a challenge than Columbus did.

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Anaheim Penalties Drawn  Detroit Penalties Drawn
  Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-   Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
  Corey Perry 52 48 +4  Henrik Zetterberg 38 18 +20
  Ryan Getzlaf 36 50 -14  Pavel Datsyuk 30 10 +20
  George Parros 33 33 0  Marian Hossa 30 25 +5
  Bobby Ryan 27 15 +12  Valtteri Filppula 29 20 +9
  Teemu Selanne 17 13 +4  Mikael Samuelsson 26 25 +1
  Todd Marchant 17 16 +1  Kirk Maltby 23 14 +9
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
  Ryan Getzlaf 36 50 -14  Niklas Kronwall 10 26 -16
  Corey Perry 52 48 +4  Marian Hossa 30 25 +5
  Chris Pronger 10 39 -29  Mikael Samuelsson 26 25 +1
  George Parros 33 33 0  Dan Cleary 22 23 -1
  Scott Niedermayer 15 30 -15  Tomas Kopecky 21 23 -2
  Rob Niedermayer 4 21 -17  Brett Lebda 5 23 -18

One of the keys to Anaheim's first-round victory was the outstanding work by their penalty killing crew, because if there's one consistent theme with the Ducks, it's a parade to the penalty box. Top offensive leaders usually have positive Penalty Plus/Minus values, but Ryan Getzlaf's -14 is one of the worst for a forward in the entire NHL. That PK effort will be essential if the Ducks are to survive the Red Wings' league-leading power play.

The Prediction

One thing Detroit should be able to do that San Jose couldn't was drive the net; the Wings are deep in talented goal-scorers who aren't shy about getting their nose dirty. That offensive depth, combined with the strength (and the likely number of opportunities) of the Detroit power play, should be the difference-maker, so I'm taking the Detroit Red Wings. Oh, and Earl? You're welcome.

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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