Skip to content

Five Q’s: Red Wings-Ducks series preview

Apr 30, 2013, 11:24 AM EDT

Corey Perry Getty Images

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.

For all the first-round playoff previews, click here.

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers lose Zuccarello indefinitely with suspected concussion

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    Diminutive forward left Game 5 after taking a shot to the helmet.

  2. NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Germany v United States - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Tournament begins May 1 in the Czech Republic.

  3. Cooper: Lightning have to ‘suck it up’ and ‘fight through’ Wings’ interference

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    Interference aside, Tampa Bay has had no shortage of power-play time.

  4. Your Caps-Islanders Game 7 officials are…

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

    Referees Dan O’Rourke (No. 9) and Dan O’Halloran (No. 13), linesmen Greg Devorski (No. 54) and Michel Cormier (No. 76).

  5. Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Pittsburgh has a lot of cap space tied up in two players.

  6. After sitting three straight, Glencross to play for Caps tonight

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game Three Getty Images

    Washington makes a lineup change in advance of Game 7 versus the Isles.

  7. Letang (concussion) will be ready for Pens’ training camp

    Apr 27, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT

    Kris Letang Getty Images

    “I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol.”

  8. Sens’ MacArthur, Methot battled hip injuries in series vs. Habs

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Marc Methot Getty Images

    Injury information trickling in following Ottawa’s Game 6 loss.

  9. Penguins assign prospect Sundqvist to AHL

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits 2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

    He was one of Pittsburgh’s final cuts in the fall.

  10. Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

    Apr 27, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    John Tavares, Braden Holtby John Tavares, Braden Holtby

    The Islanders and Capitals meet in Game 7 for the first time since 1987.

  11. Bettman projects 2015-16 cap will be $71.5 million

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith AP

    That’s a fairly modest increase compared to some of the jumps we’ve seen in the past.

  12. Price makes 43 saves as Senators’ magical run ends in controversy

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    Montreal will now play either Detroit or Tampa Bay.

  13. Shattenkirk expects changes, but he supports Hitchcock

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:17 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock Getty Images

    Oshie thinks the core has “been playing some pretty good games since the playoffs.”

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2560)
  2. A. Burrows (2317)
  3. S. Weber (2083)
  4. M. Giordano (1862)
  5. K. Letang (1802)
  1. D. Carcillo (1714)
  2. C. Ehrhoff (1612)
  3. L. Bouma (1605)
  4. T. Hamonic (1566)
  5. C. Price (1519)