Detroit Red Wings – Anaheim Ducks 2nd Round Playoff Preview

Posted by David Minuk in Anaheim Ducks,Central Division,Columns,Detroit Red Wings,General NHL,Illegal Curve News,News You Can Use,Pacific Division,Season Previews,Teams,Western Conference on April 29, 2009 — 7 Comments

The Numbers:

This is the fifth series between these teams in the seven post season appearances for Anaheim. 
 
 Playoffs Goals/GM GA/GM PP Pct. PK Pct
Detroit Red Wings 4.50 (1) 1.75 (5) 31.8% (1) 76.9% (13)
Anaheim Ducks 3.00 (5) 1.67 (4) 21.7% (6) 83.3% (9)

Goaltending

If the same Chris Osgood of the first 3 games against Columbus shows up against the Ducks, they are in for a tough series.  Even in game 4 when he wasn’t at his best, the Wings potent offence bailed him out quicker than the Government did with GM.  Osgood continues to show that he has what it takes to win in the post season and if he can continue to give the Wings the same solid play he did in Round 1, the Wings will have nothing to worry about in goal for Round 2.

Who is this upstart young goalie that helped lead the Ducks past the President Trophy winning Sharks?  Well a quick look at Jonas Hiller’s career stats indicates that he has some International playoff experience having won a number of Swiss Championships as well as 2 Spengler Cups with Davos.  I didn’t watch a lot of the Ducks/Sharks series but from what I saw he played pretty well.  That being said, I don’t think he faced the type of pressure from the Sharks that he will soon be receiving courtesy of the Wings. 

Edge: Even

Defense:

The Detroit defensive core of Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall were incredibly solid in front of Osgood in the first round.  They limited the shots he faced while providing the Wings with some potent offense.  Lidstrom and Rafalski finished the series +4 and +5 respectively and were big factors on why the Detroit power play continued to be ranked #1 in the Post Season.

The Ducks boast some studs on defence.  Whereas the Wings top 4 defenders rank 7-10 on the team in terms of points, Niedermayer (2nd), Pronger (5th) and Whitney (6th) are a major reason the Ducks were able to overthrow the Stanley Cup favourite Sharks.  They play a ton of ice time every game (Niedermayer 25:33 & Pronger 24:42), have plenty of Stanley Cup experience and can shadow any of the games top offensive stars.  Detroit though has a more balanced attack than the Sharks did, so these guys will have to be on top of the Wings to ensure that Hiller can see the puck and I’m sure good old Tomas Holmstrom is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Edge: Even

Forwards:

Who would have expected that after one round of playoff hockey Pavel Datsyuk would rank as the 12th points getter on the team with just 1 goal and 1 assist (certainly not me or else I wouldn’t have taken him in my playoff pool, but I digress).  However this demonstrates just how balanced an attack the Wings boast.  When Dan Cleary is 2nd and Marian Hossa is 5th on the team in points you know you have achieved balance.  These guys are efficient and I can’t help but think that the rest has given them some time to mend wounds (I’m looking at you Marian Hossa and your “lower body injury” from the end of the season).

While the Ducks still boast a significant core of the forwards from the 2006/07 Stanley Cup Champion team (Perry, Getzlaf, Selanne, Parros, Miller, Marchant & Niedermayer), the Ducks most important cog might be rookie of the year finalist Bobby Ryan who has helped to re-invigorate this offense.  Not many people (except Illegal Curve’s Adam Gutkin) expected these forwards to be able to wear down the Sharks defense in addition to solving Nabokov.  They play smart, take advantage of their chances and employ a disciplined style.  They are slightly better than the Wings in terms of faceoff percentage although neither team is particularly stellar in that category.  (Ana: 10th – 49.2%, Det: 12th – 48.7%)

Edge: Detroit

Special Teams:

The Detroit Power Play rolled in the 1st round as they were unbelievable against Steve Mason and the Blue Jackets.  They were first overall during the regular season and continued that trend into the post season.  The Ducks will have to stay out of the box if they hope to avoid becoming victims of the Wings PP prowess.  (The Ducks were 10th out of 16 teams, averaging 15.2 minutes per game).  The Wings PK continues to be this team’s Achilles heel as they finished the 1st round 13th out of 16 teams.  Luckily for the Wings they had the lowest penalty minutes of any team at a paltry 8 minutes per game.

Anaheim’s power play has been at the top of the league throughout the regular season and that trend continued into the post season.  Regardless of whether they are at home or on the road the Ducks have the tools to score on the power play.  The Ducks PK on the other hand was a tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the 1st Round as they fared poorly at home (66.7% – 13th overall) and excellent on the road (93.3% – 4th overall).  I’m not sure why it was so erratic but it will have to be at its best when the Detroit power play is on the ice.

Edge: Even

Bottom Line:

Anaheim is no 8th place team and they have the weapons on offense, the skill on defence and the Stanley Cup experience to send the current Stanley Cup Champs to the golf course if taken too lightly.   The Wings though are a tough, gritty bunch with the ability to score from lines one through four and a coach who isn’t about to let them underestimate the Ducks.  This will be a tough, physical series.

Winner:  Detroit in 6.

  • Pingback: Breaking down the Ducks and Wings | Crash the Crease

  • Bob Roberts

    Osgood’s talking a good game.

    His team rolled over a CBJ team who, let’s face it, were challenged on O, reasonable on D, had a good coach and insane fans and were one of the best poster teams for “WE MADE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS” I’ve ever seen. Next year for them if they keep Nash and Brassard returns to form and Mason doesn’t do a Price.

    BUT, they did play hard in game four and score how many goals on Osgood and Lidstrom and Rafalski and Stuart and Datsyuk? And lost it in the last minute going into OT on a Wing PP?

    If that team can make the Wings look like that in a fourth game, up 3 games to none…

    And no Rafalski (shoulder it looked like to me). And Lidstrom’s one of the best of all time, but he looks “off” to me. Nothing I can put my finger on, but…

    And a PP roaring at what, 40%? And Datsyuk has what, 2 points?

    Oh, there’s lots of others there. Hossa, for example. How many hits can his knee take, do you think? Looks from the way he’s skating he might’ve tweaked the old groin, too.

    Detroit just looks tired to me.

    And the Ducks are just skating and skating. And that 27 — looks like he wants to go out with a Cup and a gold medal, doesn’t it? And who’s got a book on that Hiller? Who is that guy anyway?

    But still, I think this is one of those series that’ll turn on one thing. Maybe a goal from centre ice, or a big hit, or a 1 – 0 game. A fight? Perish the thought! But something like that.

    And because it feels like that kind of series to me, I won’t be even a tiny bit surprised if the Wings take it in 4 or 5, or even in the third overtime of the seventh game.

    But I’m going to say the Ducks in 6 or 7, maybe in 5 if I’m right about the Wings. Go figure, eh?

    WSS. TWWW.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com david

    Bob,

    A comment almost as in-depth as my analysis. I agree with your points and although I feel the Wings will win the series I too could very easily see the Ducks taking it.

    Luckily the Captain was “on fire” tonight and led the boys to a Game 1 Victory.

    I still see a Canucks/Wings Conference Final.

  • Bob Roberts

    Canucks, yes. Wings, I don’t think so.

    Squeaked it out in Game 1. But JUST. Should be dominating at home with that lineup.

    And that BRUTAL 5 and a game bonehead call.

    I sure hope THAT isn’t the one thing the series will turn on. That would be a disgrace.

    But even with that in their favour, the Wings just squeaked it out. That’s two squeakers in a row. Not a good sign for the mighty Wings, I’m thinking. But, WSS, TWWW.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com david

    While they did just squeak by the Ducks in game 1, if you refer back to the article Rich posted the other day about layoffs and how teams with long layoffs usually lose game 1, then perhaps just barely winning isn’t so bad.

    My feeling is Anaheim was coming off the high of 1st round victory and hand the momentum whereas the Wings had been waiting for a week for an opponent.

    As I think we’ve both indicated it will be a close series but I still feel the Wings will be victorious.

  • Bob Roberts

    I read Rich’s article. I read all the IC articles and all the comments. Doesn’t everyone?

    But what about Boston’s win after a longer layoff than the Wings vs a team that must have had THE ultimate high winning with two goals in the last two minutes in the seventh game on the road against Martin Brodeur?

    So far 100% of teams who had long layoffs after the first round have won the first game of the next vs teams that didn’t.

    You were right. Detroit got the only stat that matters. “W”.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com david

    Looks like the real Red Wings have finally arrived at the party. Took them long enough. With Getzlaf only playing 2:43 in the 3rd and Hiller looking human its not looking good for the Ducks.