The Detroit Red Wings' shocking upset of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series on Sunday night earned the Red Wings the "privilege" of playing the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in an Original 6 showdown.
In the other series, the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings earned home-ice advantage in its series against the San Jose Sharks, the sixth-seed, in the first round. San Jose has not played since May 7, the night it finished a four-game sweep of the favored Vancouver Canucks. The Kings, meanwhile, have not played since beating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 on May 10.
Chicago has been idle since finishing a five-game ouster of the Minnesota Wild on May 9.
The League has yet to announce a schedule for the Western Conference Semifinal round.
When it does begin, the Chicago Blackhawks will find a familiar foe showing up at the United Center for Game 1.
The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks started playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1934 when the Blackhawks beat the Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. The teams have met 14 more times in the playoffs, with each side winning seven series. They last met in the 2009 Western Conference Final, with Detroit winning in five games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Detroit lost the Final that season to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Detroit, however, has lost all four regular-season meetings to Chicago this season, although three of those losses came after regulation.
In the most recent meeting, April 12, Chicago won 3-2 in a shootout. Corey Crawford made 27 saves to win a goaltending duel with Jimmy Howard, who had 26 saves. Impressive rookie Brandon Saad scored the deciding goal in the tie-breaker.
The teams also played to a shootout on March 3 with Chicago taking a 2-1 decision. This time, both Crawford and Howard each made 32 saves. Patrick Kane netted the game-winner in the shootout. In the first meeting of the season, on Jan. 27, the sides played to overtime before the Hawks took a 2-1 decision on a goal by Nick Leddy. Crawford had 29 saves in the win and Howard had 25 saves.
The other game in the four-game series that was not close was a 7-1 blowout by the Blackhawks on March 31. Howard was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots, while Crawford made 33 saves. Saad and Dave Bolland each had two-goal outings in the game and Jeremy Morin, Jonathan Toews and Leddy had the other goals. Corey Emmerton, a scratch in Game 7 on Sunday night, had Detroit's only goal and it came in the last minute of the game.
In fact, the two California-based clubs have only met once in the postseason, in 2011. San Jose won that series in six games. The Sharks won three of the games in that series in the overtime session.
The regular-season series between these teams was just as close with the clubs, splitting a four-game series.
Eleven days earlier, it was the Sharks who took a 3-2 decision, this time in a shootout. Niemi had 41 saves to out-duel Quick (33 saves). Raffi Torres had the deciding goal in the tie-breaker.
On March 16, the Kings took a 5-2 decision in a rare game that saw Niemi pulled, the Finnish keeper stopped just 14 of 18 shots before he was replaced by Alex Stalock. Jonathan Bernier, spelling Quick made 20 saves while Kyle Clifford drove the offense with a pair of goals.
Two nights earlier, in the first meeting of the season, the Sharks took a 4-3 decision. Logan Couture had the game-winning goal and Niemi made 34 saves. This time it was Quick who struggled, saving just nine of 12 shots.