Anaheim Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings First Round Preview
The most surprising team in the NHL takes on a veteran team with questions on the blue line but a veteran forward core. The Ducks and Wings have a rich playoff history and I think this will be a hard-fought series.
Let’s break this series down:
Overall Talent – The Wings have elite, veteran forwards with proven playoff track records like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Their issues are whether Jimmy Howard is an elite playoff goalie and if they their depth on defence can overcome a lack of consistent game-changers. The Ducks ride their top 3 forwards of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan with ageless wonder Teemu Selanne. They don’t have any marquee defencemen but they are all proven veterans who have a history of good play in the playoffs. Even though the Ducks had 10 more points than the Red Wings this year the talent level is pretty close, especially with benches being shortened in the playoffs. I think Anaheim’s top 4 forwards and their D have an edge on Detroit in this series.
Minor edge – Anaheim
Goaltending – Jimmy Howard produced great numbers this regular season with a heavy workload and is looking to finally prove himself in the playoffs. One of the surprise stories of this season was the emergence of Viktor Fasth as a bona-fide NHL goalie. He split time with Jonas Hiller, who has playoff experience and can play at an elite level for stretches of time but can be inconsistent. I think Detroit has the edge in net because I would take the one guy who has proven he is a #1 goalie versus a two goalie system in a short series.
Edge – Detroit
Coaching – Mike Babcock is one of the most decorated coaches in recent memory. Babcock and his staff has an edge on almost every other staff in the world. I like Bruce Boudreau but he does not have a sterling playoff reputation.
Edge – Detroit
Specialty Teams – Anaheim has an edge here as their 4th ranked power play played at a higher level than Detroit’s 15th ranked unit. Both teams were in the middle of the pack on the penalty kill.
Edge – Anaheim
This is going to be an interesting series. I think Anaheim will win because they have a better defence and I think their goaltending will hold up. I predict Anaheim wins the series in 6 games.