ANAHEIM -- It's not as if the Anaheim Ducks have had it easy in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They needed their share of ice packs against the Winnipeg Jets. They were taken to overtime twice and had to come from behind in six of their eight wins.
But Anaheim will really be tested when it plays the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. Game 1 is at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
Chicago is considerably more skilled than Anaheim's first two postseason opponents, the Jets and Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks are averaging 3.20 goals, third most in the playoffs (Anaheim's 3.89 per game is first); Calgary averaged 2.46, and Winnipeg 2.25.
Chicago is one of the few teams that can match Anaheim in skill, speed and depth, and it figures to stretch what has been a solid Ducks defense in front of goalie Frederik Andersen.
"They definitely have a team that can skate, that's for sure," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "They love to really stretch you out defensively. They get a couple of guys to blow the zone and push our defense back, and that gives them a lot of areas for their skill guys to get to work and make some plays. The more we can keep things compact and keep people in their face, that's advantageous for us. But they make it difficult because they like to stretch things out, and that's what makes them so dynamic."