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Ducks vs. Red Wings Series Storylines

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
Playoff History: The Red Wings and Ducks will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth time since 1997; the only clubs who have met more often in that span are the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers (six times).

In 1997, the Red Wings eliminated Anaheim in the Conference Semifinals en route to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. Three of the four games went to overtime, including double- and triple-OT contests.

In 1999, the Red Wings swept Anaheim in decisive fashion, outscoring the Ducks 17-6.

In 2003, the seventh-seeded Ducks shocked the second-seeded Red Wings in the Conference Quarterfinals with a four-game sweep. Two games were decided in overtime, including a triple-OT thriller in Game 1.

In 2007, the Ducks ousted the Red Wings in six games in the Western Conference Final en route to their first Stanley Cup.

Season Series: The Ducks captured the first 2008-09 meeting in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win 5-4 in overtime at Honda Center on Oct. 29. Center Ryan Getzlaf assisted on all five Anaheim goals. The Red Wings took the next three games of the series, the most recent being a 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 20.

First-Round Recap: The Ducks defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games, becoming the eighth #8 seed to eliminate a #1 seed since the Conference-based playoff format was introduced in 1994. The Ducks also are the fifth team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to eliminate the regular-season points leader in the first round. The Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry-Bobby Ryan line posted 16 points (nine goals, seven assists), while defensemen Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Ryan Whitney combined for 2-11--13.

The Red Wings posted a four-game sweep over Columbus in the opening round, outscoring the Blue Jackets 18-7. The Red Wings were the only club that did not trail throughout its opening-round series. Forward Johan Franzen led the club in scoring with 2-4--6.

Franzen is Mr. Clutch: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has scored a game-winning goal in each of his past six playoff series and in seven of his past eight since the start of the 2007 post-season.

Pronger Knows Detroit: Ducks D Chris Pronger will take on the Red Wings for the seventh time in his career. He faced Detroit with the St. Louis Blues in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002, with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 and with the Ducks in 2007. Nearly one quarter of his NHL postseason games (34 of 140, 24%) have been against the Red Wings.

Good Memories Of The Joe: Ducks D Scott Niedermayer has played five career playoff games at Joe Louis Arena and is 4-1 in those games. He has figured prominently in three of those wins:

* On June 20, 1995, Niedermayer's highlight-reel goal in the third period helped the New Jersey Devils defeat the Red Wings 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final en route to a four-game sweep.
* On May 13, 2007, Niedermayer scored the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
* On May 20, 2007, Niedermayer scored the game-tying goal with 48 seconds left in the third period of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final with the series tied 2-2. Teemu Selanne scored in overtime, giving the Ducks a 2-1 win.

In addition, Ducks G Jean-Sebastien Giguere made a sensational playoff debut at Joe Louis Arena on April 10, 2003 in Game 1 of the Detroit-Anaheim Conference Quarterfinal, setting a record for most saves by a goaltender in his first postseason game (63) as the Ducks upset the Red Wings in triple overtime.

Special Teams: The Red Wings had the top-ranked power play in the NHL during the regular season (25.5%) and its success continued in the first round of the playoffs against Columbus, connecting at 31.8% (seven for 22). The Ducks, meanwhile, had the hottest power play in the League down the stretch (20 for 48, 41.7% in their last 13 games) and played a key role in their first-round upset of San Jose (five for 23, 21.7%).

Club Connections: Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock made his NHL head coaching debut with the Ducks in 2002-03. In his rookie season behind the bench, the Ducks swept the highly-favored Red Wings in a first-round upset en route to the franchise's first Stanley Cup Final berth.

Two Ducks players remain from Babcock's last season with the club in 2003-04: forward Rob Niedermayer and goaltender J.S. Giguere.

Goaltending Matchup: Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood, 36, has won three Stanley Cups, is tied for 10th place on the all-time regular-season victories list with 389 and tied for 11th on the career playoff wins list with 63. He allowed just seven goals in Detroit's four-game sweep over Columbus in the Conference Quarter-Finals. The Ducks' Jonas Hiller, 27, made a spectacular Stanley Cup Playoff debut in the first-round series win over San Jose, posting a 4-2 record with a 1.64 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and two shutouts.

Norris Chorus: The Red Wings and Ducks feature four previous winners of the Norris Trophy, awarded to the League's top defenseman. The Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom is a six-time winner and is nominated this year, while Chris Chelios is a three-time winner (Montreal, 1989; Chicago, 1993 and 1996). The Ducks boast Scott Niedermayer, who captured the award in 2004 with New Jersey, and Chris Pronger, who took home the hardware in 2000 with St. Louis.

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle also won the award, with Pittsburgh in 1981.

Anaheim Ducks

NHL Playoff Appearance: 7th (fourth consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (2007)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 11-5
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 50-35

Key Acquisitions

Feb. 4: Acquired RW Mike Brown from Vancouver for D Nathan McIver.

Feb. 26: Acquired D Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh for LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi.

Mar. 4: Acquired C Petteri Nokelainen from Boston for D Steve Montador.

Mar. 4: Acquired D James Wisniewski and C Petri Kontiola from Chicago for C Samuel Pahlsson, D Logan Stephenson and a conditional pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Mar. 4: Acquired C Erik Christensen from Atlanta for C Eric O'Dell.

Season Highlights

The Ducks are peaking at the right time, having sewn up their fourth consecutive trip to the post-season by going 10-2-1 down the stretch. Mired in 12th place in the Western Conference after 69 games (32-31-6), their run vaulted them into the Western Conference's top eight. They tied a franchise record with seven consecutive road victories from Mar. 3 to Apr. 4 and have been red-hot on the power play, going 20 for 48 (41.7%) in their last 13 games.

C Ryan Getzlaf set the Ducks' single-season assist record and tied for third in the NHL with 66. He ranked seventh in the League in points with 25-66--91, becoming just the third player in franchise history to reach the 90-point mark. Over the past eight games, the Getzlaf-Bobby Ryan-Corey Perry line has earned 17-21--38 points. Getzlaf has 14 points in span (2-12--14), followed by Perry (8-5--13) and Ryan (7-4--11).

Scott Niedermayer again ranked among NHL defensemen leaders in several categories, including average ice time per game (third, 26:55), scoring (fourth, 14-45-59) and assists (T-third, 45). Niedermayer notched his 46th goal as a Duck Mar. 8 vs. Minnesota, surpassing Oleg Tverdovsky for the all-time franchise lead in goals by a defenseman.

RW Teemu Selanne became the Ducks' all-time games played leader Jan. 31 at Colorado with his 617th appearance and set the club's all-time assists mark Nov. 7 vs. Dallas (370). He scored his 1,200th career point with an overtime goal Mar. 18 vs. Nashville, becoming the 45th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. The Helsinki, Finland native is only the sixth player born outside North America to do so.

RW Bobby Ryan set single-season franchise records for goals and points by a rookie, tallying 31-26--57 in 64 games. Ryan led all NHL rookies in goals and points despite joining the Ducks six weeks into the season when he was recalled from the AHL Nov. 15. He is the first NHL rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Evgeni Malkin had 33 in 2006-07.

G Jonas Hiller backstopped the Ducks during their late-season surge. He tied a franchise record by recording a seven-game winning streak from Mar. 19 to Apr. 4, posting a 2.19 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in that span. Hiller finished the season seventh among NHL goaltenders in both goals-against average (2.39) and save percentage (.919).

Key Wins

Oct. 17: After starting the season with four consecutive losses, the Ducks avoided the worst start in franchise history by defeating the San Jose Sharks 4-0 behind a vintage goaltending performance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 38 saves. The Ducks handed the Sharks one of just three regulation losses they suffered in the first 31 games of the season and marked the start of a 9-1-1 Ducks' run that put the club among the Western Conference leaders.

Oct. 29: The Ducks kept rolling after a 4-0 Eastern time zone road trip by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf tallied assists on all five Anaheim goals, becoming the first player to assist on each of his team's five goals in a winning effort since Toronto's Doug Gilmour in January, 1997. Teemu Selanne recorded the 21st hat trick of his career and Francois Beauchemin scored at 1:29 of the extra period.

Mar. 11: Defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored an overtime goal with the teams playing three-on-three for the second time in a month, giving the Ducks a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Niedermayer had victimized the Calgary Flames with a three-on-three tally in a 3-2 win at Anaheim Feb. 11. The Ducks captain registered his 12th career regular-season overtime goal, the most among defensemen since overtime was re-instituted in 1983-84.

Apr. 2: In an unpredictable and wide-open game that mirrored the unpredictable and wide-open Western Conference playoff race, the Ducks overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to earn a 7-6 shootout victory at Vancouver. The win was the Ducks' eighth in their past nine games and moved them up to seventh place in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. The club had been in 13th place on March 18 before embarking on their late-season run.

Apr. 10: The Ducks clinched a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars in Anaheim's final home game of the season. Goaltender Jonas Hiller made 42 saves and Teemu Selanne notched the decisive shootout goal for the winners, who also received a huge boost with the return from injury of D Francois Beauchemin. Traditionally among the League leaders in ice time, Beauchemin missed 62 games with a knee injury.

Detroit Red Wings

NHL Playoff Appearance: 57th (18th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 11 (1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 63-45
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 289-254-1

Key Acquisitions


Season Highlights

The Red Wings will be attempting to repeat as Stanley Cup champions for the first time in more than a decade. They were the last club to accomplish the feat, winning back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. Five of the players who competed for both champions are on the Red Wings' active roster (Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby and Chris Osgood).

The Detroit Red Wings set an NHL record by posting their ninth consecutive 100-point season with a 4-0 victory at Columbus Mar. 15, passing the Montreal Canadiens' eight-season streak from 1974-75 through 1981-82. The Red Wings also clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 18th consecutive season -- the longest active streak of qualifying for the postseason among the major pro sports -- and captured the Central Division title for the eighth consecutive season.

The Red Wings had three defensemen in the top 11 in NHL defense scoring - Nicklas Lidstrom (third, 16-43--59), Brian Rafalski (fifth, 10-49--59), and Niklas Kronwall (11th, 6-45--51). Lidstrom has recorded 997 career regular-season points, just shy of becoming just the eighth defenseman in League history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, and earned his 10th selection as a Norris Trophy finalist in the past 11 seasons.

C Pavel Datsyuk finished fourth in the NHL scoring race with 97 points (32 goals, 65 assists), equaling his career high set in 2007-08. He led the club in scoring for a fourth consecutive season, surpassing the three-year runs of franchise greats Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. Datsyuk also excelled at the defensive end, ranking third among NHL players in plus-minus with a +34 rating. Voted a finalist for the Hart, Lady Byng and Frank Selke Trophies, Datsyuk could become the first player ever to sweep these awards in the same season.

The Red Wings were counting on big production from RW Marian Hossa when they signed him as an unrestricted free agent last summer and he responded, notching the third 40-goal season of his NHL career. Hossa, who also tallied 40-goal seasons with the Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers, is just the eighth player in NHL history to do with three different clubs. Hossa will look to repeat the form of his 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he ranked third in NHL scoring with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

LW Henrik Zetterberg tallied his fourth consecutive 30-goal season, finishing second on the Red Wings in scoring (31-42--73). He enters the post-season as the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He finished at or near the top of several playoff categories in 2008, including points (1st, 27), goals (T-1st, 13), plus-minus (T-1st, +16, shots (1st, 116), game-winning goals (2nd, four) and assists (T-3rd, 14).

LW Johan Franzen continued his knack for clutch scoring this season, sharing the Red Wings lead in game-winning goals with Marian Hossa (eight). Last season, Franzen franchise records for most game-winners in a calendar month (six in March 2008) and in a single playoff year (five). "The Mule" ranked second on the Red Wings in goals this season with a career-high 34.

Chris Osgood and Ty Conklin are one of three NHL club goaltending tandems who each made at least 40 appearances this season, joining Jean-Sebastien Giguere/Jonas Hiller (Anaheim) and Cristobal Huet/Nikolai Khabibulin (Chicago). Conklin set career highs in wins (25-11-2) and shutouts (six), while Osgood rose to a tie for 10th on the all-time victories list (389) and second on the Red Wings' all-time list (305).

Key Wins

Oct. 11: It didn't long for the Red Wings' Johan Franzen to resume his clutch goal-scoring from the Stanley Cup-winning 2007-08 season. Franzen tallied twice in the third period to give the Red Wings a 3-2 comeback victory at Ottawa in the club's second game of the season. Franzen set a franchise record with 13 postseason goals in 2008 after scoring 15 times in Detroit's final 16 regular-season games.

Dec. 13: Johan Franzen scored the game-tying goal with 19.9 seconds remaining in regulation and Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler tallied in the shootout as the Red Wings escaped with a 5-4 victory at Phoenix. The game also marked the return of Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios for his 25th NHL season. Chelios had missed Detroit's first 28 games due to injury.

Jan. 1: Playing in front of 40,818 fans outdoors at Chicago's Wrigley Field and the largest regular-season television audience in nearly 13 years, the Red Wings posted a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009 Winter Classic. Trailing 3-1 after the first period, the Red Wings scored five consecutive goals, highlighted by strikes by defensemen Brian Rafalski and Brett Lebda 17 seconds apart in the third period.

Feb. 4: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom celebrated his 1,300th career regular-season game in style, scoring a power-play goal with 39 seconds remaining in the third period to give Detroit a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena. The goal negated a third-period Phoenix comeback in which the club rebounded from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game with five minutes to play.

Feb. 25: Henrik Zetterberg scored twice, including a highlight-reel shorthanded effort, as the Red Wings defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 and earned a split of their season series. The home club won each time in the four contests between the Western Conference leaders.

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