The second round of the playoffs begin tonight and the Ducks are still a part of the party. They were able to knock off the current Presidents Trophy winners, but their biggest challenge will begin tomorrow night in Detroit.
Although the Sharks finished with the most points during the regular season, the Ducks will play the best team in the league. The main reason being that their top players actually show up when it counts. They are proven winners and are off to a perfect start to these playoffs. They made Columbus roookie sensation Mason, who is nominated for a Vezina and Calder trophy, look like he had no business being on the same ice as them. They also have six solid defenseman who can shut down pretty much any line they want.
For Anaheim to have any chance in this series, they need to be as physical as possible. The line of Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan need to get the puck in deep and forcheck Lidstrom and Rafalski every chance they get. Adding to that, Jonas Hiller will need to carry the momentum from the San Jose series and play consistently well. If they give up the same amount of shots to Detroit as they did San Jose, this series can be over quick. Finally, Detroit's achilles' heel is Chris Osgood, and the Ducks need to crash the net early and often. Osgood will be on a short leash and Babcock will not hesitate the throw Ty Conklin in there. If the Ducks can cause some goalie controversy, they maight have a chance.
I know that I predicted the Ducks to win their last series, but I will not make a prediction this time around. However, I will predict it going to six or seven games.
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Written by Dan Caristo