Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks Series Schedule, Preview and Prediction

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The Ducks’ blue line is led by Francois Beauchemin, who has 24 points, 81 hits and an astounding 111 blocked shots. Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa bring more size and physicality while 21-year-old Cam Fowler adds speed and the ability to move the puck.  The Red Wings and Ducks have had similar success on the penalty kill, operating at just over 81 percent. One of the only major statistical differences between both is in shot-blocking where the Ducks rank among the NHL’s best while the Wings are near the bottom of the league.   Goaltending Jimmy Howard: 21-13-7, .923 save percentage, 2.13 GAA and five shutouts. Viktor Fasth: 15-6-2, .921 save percentage, 2.18 GAA and four shutouts. Jonas Hiller: 15-6-4, .913 save percentage, 2.36 GAA and one shutout. These three goalies are all around age 30, but are at different points in their NHL careers.  Howard recently signed a six-year, $31.75 million contract with the Red Wings (per Capgeek.com), making him, without a doubt, the future of the franchise in goal. Howard has been solid for most of the season, nearly matching his career high in shutouts with six in just 42 games. The Ducks have a tough decision to make, but it’s one many coaches wish they had the luxury of debating. Which of the two goaltenders who have been equally brilliant throughout the season, gets the nod? source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1622291-detroit-red-wings-vs-anaheim-ducks-series-schedule-preview-and-prediction

Round 1 Preview: RED WINGS vs. DUCKS

Over that 31 game stretch to conclude the season, Detroit allowed 64 goals against (2.06 goals against average). This steep improvement was buoyed by the strong play of Jimmy Howard between the pipes and a renewed commitment and focus on limiting opponents scoring chances. As a result, Detroit’s strong defensive play should provide a stiff test for one of the league’s top offensive clubs in the Anaheim Ducks. It seems only fitting with Detroit’s upcoming move next season to the Eastern Conference, their final Western Conference playoff run begins with yet another opponent on the West Coast and those late 10:30 pm puck drops. In contrast to the Red Wings, the Ducks strong run this season began at the outset, with a phenomenal 22-3-4 burst out of the starting gate to essentially secure a playoff spot with five weeks to go until the end of the regular season. However, back-to-back home losses to the Red Wings in mid-March laid the foundation for a disappointing 8-9-2 finish over the final 19 games for Anaheim. As a result, which version of the Ducks shows up over the next two weeks to face the surging Red Wings? The club from 2-3 months ago that ran roughshod over the Western Conference….or the middling club that walked to the finish line unmotivated over the final five weeks of the season? *********************************************************************** Let’s breakdown the two combatants prior to tonight’s drop of the puck for Game 1 at the Honda Center. Season Series – Detroit 2-1-1, Anaheim 2-0-2 Feb. 15 at Detroit – Ducks 5, Red Wings 2 Mar. 22 at Anaheim – Red Wings 5, Ducks 1 Mar. source: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=51258

NHL Capsules

Backstrom came up big in the third period, turning aside 15 shots. He improved to 24-5-3 against the Avalanche. Ryan O’Reilly had the lone goal for Colorado, which finished in last place in the Western Conference. BLUE JACKETS 3, PREDATORS 1 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jack Johnson scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left and Columbus capped a remarkable turnaround with a victory over Nashville. But despite that win, Columbus was eliminated from the playoff race when the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche later on Saturday to earn the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Coming into the night, the Blue Jackets were tied for eighth in the West with Minnesota, each with 53 points. Detroit beat Dallas on Saturday and clinched the No. 7 seed. The Red Wings will play Anaheim in the first round. The Blue Jackets were on the short end of tiebreakers against both the Wild and Red Wings. source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/capitals/nhl-capsules/2013/04/27/2fdda492-afaf-11e2-b59e-adb43da03a8a_story.html

 

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