Series Storylines: An eighth seed has beaten a top seed seven times since 1994. The last No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 was in 2006 when the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-2. The Ducks and Sharks have identical 41-41-8 records vs. each other since their rivalry began in 1993-94. It has been 30 years since California-based teams have met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1969, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Oakland Seals, 4-3, in their Quarterfinal series. The Sharks-Ducks rivalry did not take long to get on track in 2008-09 - they met on opening day (4-1 San Jose win on home ice) in a physical game. Joe Thornton commented after the game: "With Anaheim, we really don't like each other too much. The building was excited and we just wanted to finish our hits." The Sharks and Ducks feature two of the League's most potent power-plays - San Jose ranked third in the League at 24.2% efficiency and Anaheim placed fourth at 23.6%.
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Series Storylines: The Blue Jackets qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in their nine-year history. In the last 40 years, two teams have reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first-ever trip to the post-season - St. Louis Blues (1968) and Florida Panthers (1996). The Red Wings will look to do what no team has done since 1998: repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998. A No. 7 seed knocked off a No. 2 seed in each Stanley Cup playoff post-season from 1997 through 2006. The Western Conference No. 7 has beaten the No. 2 five times in the past 11 years. The Red Wings registered the League's best power-play this season (25.5%). The Blue Jackets ranked last in the League (12.7%).
Series Storylines: The Canucks and Blues have met only twice before in the playoffs. Both series went the limit, with Vancouver prevailing each time. The Canucks won a seventh game in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in 1995. They repeated the trick, this time at home, in pulling out the 2003 Western Quarterfinal series. Losers of eight straight in January, the Canucks rallied to go 23-7-2 over their final 32 games. The Blues have an even more amazing story: Last in the 15-team Western Conference in late February, they posted a League-best 25-9-7 second-half record to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. Brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin each recorded 82 points this season to lead the Canucks. Daniel was plus-24 with seven game-winning goals. Henrik was plus-22 with eight game-winners. St. Louis can counter with their disparate killer Bs: Brad Boyes, the 26-year-old RW who scored 16 of his team-leading 33 goals on the power play and David Backes, the 24-year-old RW who had 165 penalty minutes to go with his 31 goals.
Series Storylines: Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville's first heading coaching job came on Jan. 6, 1997, when he replaced current Flames' coach Mike Keenan as coach of the St. Louis Blues. Quenneville, at the time of his hiring in St. Louis: "Our objective is to qualify for the playoffs. If we can show steady improvement and be competitive each and every night, that's our goal." Quenneville, who had been an assistant coach with Colorado, guided the Blues to an 18-15-7 record and a berth in the playoffs. The Blackhawks swept their four-game series against the Flames, outscoring Calgary, 19-7. Craig Conroy on facing the Hawks in the playoffs: "It doesn't matter what you do in the regular season. It matters what you do in the playoffs. We get a fresh slate. It will be a new season. Whenever everyone writes you off is when teams come together." The Flames and Blackhawks have not met in a playoff series since 1996 - the year Chicago last had home ice advantage in a playoff series. It will have been 2,548 days between Stanley Cup appearances for the Blackhawks (Apr. 25, 2002 to Apr. 16, 2009).