Apr 30, 2013, 11:24 AM EDT
1. How much will the Wings miss Nicklas Lidstrom?
The question they’ve been asking all season. In the past, the Red Wings have been able to find ways to overcome the retirement or departure of a superstar player, but the salary cap era is making that increasingly difficult. Granted, there is no replacement for Lidstrom, but that doesn’t change the fact that Detroit’s defense remains one of its big question marks heading into this series. Coach Mike Babcock has liked what he’s seen lately from his blue-liners, but playoff pressure can produce a different story.
2. Are the Ducks for real?
It was never a question of top-end talent for Anaheim; it was one of depth. Forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan largely lived up to expectations this season, but they were complimented by forwards like Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri, and Saku Koivu. In 2011-12, the Ducks’ top three goal-scorers (Perry, Ryan, and Teemu Selanne) accounted for nearly half of the team’s total goals. This season, the offense has been spread around more. But is Anaheim’s success sustainable? Early on, they were getting great goaltending and scoring on a high percentage of their shots. Lately, they haven’t been so lucky, finishing the season with an 8-9-2 record in their last 19 games.
3. Can Johan Franzen stay hot?
After Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings’ biggest offensive weapon is the 33-year-old Franzen. When Detroit needed him most this season, he stepped up, scoring seven goals and 13 points in his last 13 games. If Franzen can carry that hot streak into the postseason, the Ducks’ Cinderella story might come to an abrupt end. To an extent, history is on Detroit’s side in this regard. Franzen first made a name for himself thanks to his breakout performance during the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup-winning run. He then averaged more than a point-per-game over the 2009 and 2010 playoffs. However, Franzen was largely a non-factor in 2011 and 2012 and, due in part to that, Detroit didn’t last long either of those years.
4. Hiller or Fasth?
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has been dancing around the question of who will start in Game 1. Goaltenders Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth both had superb seasons. While Fasth has the marginally superior numbers, Hiller has far more NHL experience. How much Hiller’s experience counts for is perhaps a tad debatable, especially seeing as he hasn’t played in a postseason game since 2009; but still, it was just a year ago that Fasth was playing in the Swedish Elite League. Regardless of who Boudreau picks, that netminder will likely be on a tight leash. If either one falters, his counterpart will likely be given an opportunity.
5. Can Babcock pull it off again?
In 2003, the Detroit Red Wings were a superpower, fresh off of a dominant regular season, as well as a Stanley Cup title in 2002. Then they ran into the seventh-seed Anaheim Ducks in the first round and lost. In four games. Now recall that Mike Babcock was the rookie bench boss leading the Ducks past their mighty foe. We’re not sure if the Wings are quite the underdogs the Ducks were back then, but Babcock’s certainly faced his share of challenges this season. If he can get his team to the second round, it will be another job well done for one of the league’s best head coaches.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Tournament will be a big one for the Flyers forward.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:17 PM EDT
Thus ending the Scott Darling era… for now.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
New building could open by the fall of 2017.
Apr 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Diminutive forward left Game 5 after taking a shot to the helmet.
Apr 27, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT
Tournament begins May 1 in the Czech Republic.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Interference aside, Tampa Bay has had no shortage of power-play time.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT
Referees Dan O’Rourke (No. 9) and Dan O’Halloran (No. 13), linesmen Greg Devorski (No. 54) and Michel Cormier (No. 76).
Apr 27, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT
Pittsburgh has a lot of cap space tied up in two players.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
Washington makes a lineup change in advance of Game 7 versus the Isles.
Apr 27, 2015, 10:59 AM EDT
“I spent seven years there.”
Apr 27, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT
“I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol.”
Apr 27, 2015, 10:07 AM EDT
Boston will also interview Ray Shero and Paul Fenton.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT
Injury information trickling in following Ottawa’s Game 6 loss.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
He was one of Pittsburgh’s final cuts in the fall.
Apr 27, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT
The Islanders and Capitals meet in Game 7 for the first time since 1987.
Apr 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Monday’s collection of links.
Apr 26, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT
That’s a fairly modest increase compared to some of the jumps we’ve seen in the past.
Apr 26, 2015, 10:16 PM EDT
He has every right to be.
Apr 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT
Montreal will now play either Detroit or Tampa Bay.
Apr 26, 2015, 8:17 PM EDT
Oshie thinks the core has “been playing some pretty good games since the playoffs.”
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