First things first, Barry Melrose said the very night the Ducks eliminated the Sharks that "no one believed the Ducks could pull it off." Really? No one? Hmm. I guess Barry hadn’t made it to the Honda Center during the Playoffs this season or had a conversation with any current player on Anaheim’s roster or spoke to Randy Carlyle and his staff. Aww heck, if he was looking for "just one" he could have called me and I would have shared my "Why not?!" theory with him!
I’m not trying to bust on Mr. Melrose. I appreciate his love of the game and I’m sure he didn’t mean that literally but a blanket statement such as "no one" does not reflect the hearts of Ducks fans and the entire Anaheim organization. Be that as it may, if you can make it out for a Detroit game, Barry, the beer is definitely on me.
When the Playoffs brackets were set this year, I felt the Red Wings were the team to beat. Make no mistake, they are awesome, period. On the way to setting an NHL record ninth-consecutive 100-points season, Detroit has the longest active streak of qualifying for the post-season among the major pro sports with 18. Yeah, that wasn’t a typo - 18. They had the top ranked power play this regular season (25.5 percent) not to mention they are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
So once again, should we just feel blessed to live another day and accept the fact that the Wings are destined for the Conference Finals? Not so fast and not necessarily. Since the start of the 2005-2006 season, each team has a Cup and each team has won seven Playoff rounds. Where Detroit can boast, they swept the Ducks in ‘97 and ’99, we too have been known to pull out the broom, returning the favor in 2003. (Note: That series in ‘03 marked the first time in more than 50 years that a team swept the defending Cup champions.)
My point? I think you get my point. With 13 games to go this past regular season, the Ducks sat a distant 12th in the West. But the boys in black put the pedal to the medal for a 10-2-1 run and followed that up with a "no one can believe it" opening round win over the Sharks. Well I’ll tell ‘ya, I believe in these Ducks. They’re exciting, they’re inspired, they’re tough and if they can limit giving the Wings an extra man on the power play, if they can take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way, I’m still thinking Why not?!
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Author: William Fichtner | Special to NHL.com