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Continued: NHL playoff series previews and predictions

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 30, 2013 - 9:36 AM






Records: Ducks 30-12-6, 66 points; Red Wings 24-16-8, 56 points.

Season series: Detroit 2-1-0.

The skinny: Neither team scored in bunches, at least relatively speaking. Anaheim was eighth in the NHL in goals per game (2.79), and Detroit was 20th (2.54). Anaheim was 11th in goals against (2.4), while Detroit was fifth (2.27). Still, the Ducks have a depth of firepower, with Ryan Getzlaf (15-34—49), Corey Perry (15-21—36) and Bobby Ryan (11-19—30) on one line and Teemu Selanne (12-12—24), Nick Bonino (5-8—13) and Kyle Palmieri (10-11—21) on another. And don’t forget about Saku Koivu. Ducks goalies Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth each had 15 wins. The Red Wings made it into the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive time by winning their final four games by a combined score of 15-3. Detroit is led by C Pavel Datsyuk (15-34—49) and LW Henrik Zetterberg (11-37—48). But, not being the high-scoring bunch of the past, Detroit will lean on G Jimmy Howard, who had 21 wins, a .923 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA.


Records: Canucks 26-15-7, 59 points; Sharks 25-16-7, 57 points.

Season series: San Jose 3-0-0; Vancouver 0-2-1.

The skinny: The Canucks were division champs for the fifth time in six seasons despite finishing 19th in the league in scoring (2.54 goals per game). San Jose proved nearly unbeatable at home despite scoring only 2.42 goals per game. Get the feeling this might be a defensive battle between two teams in the top 10 in fewest goals allowed? Henrik Sedin (11-34—45) and brother Daniel Sedin (12-28—40) led the Canucks in scoring, and Alex Burrows led the team with 13 goals. G Cory Schneider has emerged as the leader, going 17-9-4 with a .927 save percentage and 2.11 GAA, but his status for the opener is uncertain. The Sharks lost at home in regulation only twice but were only 8-14-2 on the road. In the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, San Jose is led by C Joe Thornton (7-33—40), C Logan Couture (21-16—37), LW Patrick Marleau (17-14—31) and C Joe Pavelski (16-15—31). G Antti Niemi finished tied for the league lead with 24 wins and was seventh in save percentage (.924).


Records: Blues 29-17-2, 60 points; Kings 27-16-5, 59 points.

Season series: Los Angeles 3-0-0.

The skinny: St. Louis surged into the playoffs with an 11-2 April, earning a first-round series against a Kings team they have had trouble beating. The Kings swept the Blues in the conference semifinals last season and were 3-0-0 vs. the Blues this season. In all, L.A. has won eight consecutive vs. St. Louis. Blues G Brian Elliott started slow but finished 14-8-1; he allowed 16 goals in the final 13 games. RW Chris Stewart (18-18—36) led the Blues in goals and points, while C Patrik Berglund (17-8—25) added scoring depth. The late additions of defensemen Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester stabilized the Blues blueline. The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings again will rely on G Jonathan Quick, the MVP of last year’s playoffs. It wasn’t until late in this season that Quick, who had offseason back surgery, returned to form. But he appears set. L.A. is led by C Anze Kopitar (10-32—42), RW Justin Williams (11-22—33) and C Jeff Carter (26-7—33).

Michael Russo’s predictions


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  • Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates in second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh Saturday, April 27, 2013. The Penguins won 8-3. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban (76), Max Pacioretty (67), Andrei Markov (79), Brendan Gallagher (11) and David Desharnais (51) celebrate Desharnais' goal on the Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31), Ron Hainsey (6) and Mark Stuart (5) during third-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)

  • Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, skates with the puck against the Boston Bruins during the overtime period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63), left, collides with Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad (93), right, of Sweden, in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. Senators left wing Jakob Silfverberg, background, skates behind. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf plays during an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, April 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott deflects a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • The San Jose Sharks' Raffi Torres (13) celebrates his goal with teammates Martin Havlat (9) and Brent Burns (88) against the Dallas Stars in the first period at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

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