The last time the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, they relied on an outstanding top line, a deep defense and solid goaltending. Four seasons later, all the parts are in place for another Cup championship.
The Big Why: This Ducks team is assembled in very similar fashion to the club that hoisted the Cup in 2007. The top two lines are capable of dominating offensively, and the other two lines provide solid checking and energy.
Up front, the line of Hart Trophy candidate Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan might be the best in the League. Perry hit the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career, Getzlaf remains a preeminent set-up man, and Ryan finished with his third-straight 30-goal season. Not only can that line score, it can be physical.
Teemu Selanne is like the NHL's version of Peter Pan. No one's told him he's 40-years-old because he certainly doesn't play that way. His 16 power-play goals are third in the League and his goals and points totals are the most he's had since the Cup-winning season.
While the Ducks don't have Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defense this time around, their overall depth might be better than the Cup-winning group. Lubomir Visnovskyled all defensemen in scoring, Toni Lydman finished tied for second in the League in plus/minus and rookie Cam Fowler had some Niedermayer-esque moments as an 18-year-old.
The Big Uh-Oh: The Ducks need to find a healthy goalie, as Ray Emery is working through a lower-body issue and Jonas Hiller is fighting vertigo. And with the amount of penalties the Ducks take, they need to improve their penalty kill.
Final Argument: Perry and Getzlaf were kids when they led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup four seasons ago. With all the experience they've gained since then, they'll be even harder to knock out of these playoffs. For the second time in four seasons, Lord Stanley will be spending some quality time at the beach this summer.
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.
— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals