The Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks will meet for the sixth time in the Stanley Cup playoffs, with Detroit holding the 3-2 advantage so far. While the Ducks charged to the top of the Pacific Division standings after a woeful 2011-2012 season, the Red Wings qualified for the playoffs only in their final regular season game. Will the combination of Pavel Datsyuk & Henrik Zetterberg be able to fell these high-flying fowl?
Who to Boo?
The Nashville Predators have had their playoff battles with both these teams, but Detroit's standing as the Preds' top rival will probably carry the day with most folks. Just don't ever forget that Corey Perry is still a dork.
The SB Nation Blogs
|Detroit Red Wings||Anaheim Ducks|
|5-on-5 Save %||.932||2nd||.928||4th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.85||2nd||2.81||29th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.42||19th||3.38||16th|
The Red Wings are the superior puck possession team, and that's where their best hope lies, in playing keep-away from the Ducks' top scorers. Interestingly, Anaheim converts at a high rate on the power play, but they don't draw many penalties from their opponents, putting pressure on them to produce in the opportunities they do get.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit barely managed to keep their 22-year playoff appearance streak rolling despite the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and free agent departure of Brad Stuart, which left their defense awfully thin. The late-season addition of college free agent Dan DeKeyser has helped shore things up on the blueline, as the rookie is already playing 18 minutes a night including significant work on the penalty kill. Will the stable of Ducks snipers be able to give the NCAA standout a real schooling?
|2012 - Danny DeKeyser||11||0||1||1||+4||2||0||0||0||15||0.0|
The amazing story in Anaheim this year had to do with the debut of 30-year-old rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth, who adjusted to North American hockey remarkably well and earned himself a two-year contract extension after winning his first 8 starts. Did they jump the gun, however, rushing to the altar too quickly with their new-found keeper?
At least the Ducks aren't solely relying on Fasth, as they still have Jonas Hiller in the fold, who is capable of leading the way all by himself:
|2012 - Jonas Hiller||26||1498||15||6||4||59||2.36||675||616||.913||1|
OTF Staff Picks
|Dirk||Detroit||This could be the most entertaining series of the first round.|
|Sam||Detroit||Tootoo repeats his 2011 performance against the still-shaky Ducks D.|
|Caroline||Anaheim||The Ducks did very well, very quietly this season, while Detroit struggled all year and barely made the playoffs. Ducks win it.|
|Jonathan||Detroit||Much of Anaheim's success came early, while the opposite holds true for Detroit. It should be a long series, and the biggest upset of Round 1.|
|Chris||Anaheim||The Wings blueline continues to be a conern, though Jimmy Howard has been a stud in net. Could be a toss up, but I am going to go Ducks in 7. These two teams are very familiar with each other in the playoffs. Going to be the most entertaining first round series.|
|George||Anaheim||The Wings barely limped in this year. They're a talented group, but Jimmy Howard has been much less consistent than the Ducks, who'll take this in 5.|
|Jason||Anaheim||This Wings team was good enough to sneak in, just not much else. Ducks in 6.|
Red Wings vs Ducks Series Schedule
|Tuesday, April 30||9:30 p.m.||Anaheim||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Thursday, May 2||9:00 p.m.||Anaheim||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Saturday, May 4||6:30 p.m.||Detroit||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Monday, May 6||7:00 p.m.||Detroit||CNBC, TSN|
|*Wednesday, May 8||9:00 p.m.||Anaheim||TSN|
|*Friday, May 10||TBD||Detroit||TSN|
|*Sunday, May 12||TBD||Anaheim||TSN|