Puck luck could pluck Ducks
One-goal game success shows Anaheim's talent, but doesn't bode well for playoffs
Of the Western Conference dark horses, two stand out as particularly fear-inspiring. The Chicago Blackhawks are the obvious choice for an upset victory given their strong track record against the Vancouver Canucks and the non-trivial fact that they won the Stanley Cup last season. But then there's a more surprising threat: the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks have a track record of upset victories, most recently in 2008-09 when they knocked off the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. They have come on strong late in the season and boast strength at every key position: up front the quartet of Hart Trophy candidate Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan is as fearsome as any in the league, while the defense features a Norris Trophy candidate in Lubomir Visnovsky.
Yet, there's also a case to be made that Anaheim is the weakest of the Western Conference playoff teams and, for all their intimidating pieces, may be set to make a quick exit from the postseason.
To see why the Anaheim Ducks may be destined for a fast exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, you must be an ESPN Insider.
NHL Insider Content
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Prospectus: Rating B's, Canucks' depth
CapGeek: Bs, Canucks provide cap blueprints Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas takes the lead
Greenberg: Projecting Tyler Seguin
Greenberg: Lapierre is Canucks' MVP
Prospectus: Special teams aren't that key
Conn Smythe Watch: Kesler's charge
Joyce: Sharks stars lack 'it'
Greenberg: Best Gs vs. the best shots
Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas rises
Button: Philly's crisis of crease confidence
Greenberg: Can blocks carry Bolts to Cup?
Prospectus: Ranking Caps' playoff failure
Prospectus: Top playoff rooks since 1998
Conn Smythe Watch: Roloson No. 1
Prospectus: Datsyuk remains underrated
Conn Smythe Watch: Neuvirth shines
Greenberg: Best D pairs vs. Alex Ovechkin
Prospectus: Thomas doesn't give B's big edge
Prospectus: Playoff team depth rankings
Cooper: Preds try to ditch Rd. 1 jinx
Prospectus: Team-by-team odds to win the Cup
Prospectus: Ranking the first-round netminders
Prospectus: These Sharks built to last
Prospectus: Puck luck could pluck Ducks
Cooper: Why playoff hockey is so different
Team Scouting Reports
How to beat the Boston Bruins
How to beat the Philadelphia Flyers
How to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins
How to beat the Washington Capitals
How to beat the Anaheim Ducks
How to beat the Detroit Red Wings
How to beat the San Jose Sharks
How to beat the Vancouver Canucks
May 11: Why Wings may soon fall off
April 28: Strome surges in Mock Draft 2.0
April 13: Nashville tries to overcome history
April 11: D. Sedin tops final player rankings
April 7: Coaches feeling the hot seat
April 6: How Caps' draft strategy has worked
March 30: Can Flyers win Cup with Bobrovsky?
March 9: Re-ranking Top 50 draft prospects
Feb. 28: Traded prospect evals
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the West
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the East
Feb. 17: Worst. Trades. Ever.
Feb. 17: NHL Mock Draft 1.0
NHL Rumor Central
Get news and rumblings before anyone
NHL Experts Blog
Daily ice shavings of insight
NHL Draft Blog
A look towards June 2011