The Road to Lord Stanley Begins!

The NHL season is over and playoffs begin!! The Western Conference got abit hectic at the end with the Blackhawks barely hanging on to a playoff spot. Definitely would have been cool to see the ENTIRE Pacific Division in the playoffs, but it is what it is.

The Ducks secured the 4th seed and will be taking on the 5th seed Nashville Predators. The first game is this Wednesday, April 13th. While the Ducks plow through the competition, we’ll be posting playoff matchups here at Ducks Daily, so keep checking back!

Team Scope:

Predators: The Predators sat in playoff contention basically the entire year and stood by as everyone battled for a very spot. They had a  11-3-1 run in their 15 games which put them at the 5th seed. Like the Ducks, they tend to go unnoticed and are under represented when it comes to coverage. The Predators have made the playoffs 6 times out of the last 7 season, but have never made it to the second round. By no means is this a reason to take this team lightly. With a solid defensive line and a stellar goaltender in net, the Predators will be a challenge for the offensive power that the Ducks provide. The Preds will look to shutdown that offense by grabbing an early lead and their deadly strict defense to stop any chance of a comeback.

Ducks: The Ducks had a fantastic 2nd half which really put them in playoff contention. Lead by Corey Perry’s league leading 50 goals, the Ducks were able to take down most of their rivals and secure a 4th seed. With one of the best lines in the NHL (Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan) and Teemu Selanne’s powerplay magic, the Ducks will look to put some pucks past Pekka Rinne. They will need to avoid letting the Preds score first and keep the lead. Fowler will get his first look at playoff hockey and hopefully will rise to the task nicely.

Hot Spot:

The Ducks will count on solid goaltending from Dan Ellis and also for a ton of production from Selanne, Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan. They will also depend on shutdown defense from Visnovsky, Fowler and Sbisa. The Predators will largely depend on Pekka Rinne to keep the Ducks from scoring. Their top defensmen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter will also be big in stopping the offensive pressure.

Injuries:

Hiller and Emery are both out for the Ducks right now, and nobody can be for certain when they will return. Shea Weber is a maybe for the Preds, who missed their final game due to undisclosed reasons.

Key Issue:

Every single team has a problem that could ruin their chances of winning a cup. Its the one thing that makes their fans say “this will be our biggest problem”.

Ducks: Goaltending. Without Hiller, they will need to rely on Ellis to bring 110% every single game if they want to advance to the next round.

Predators: Depth. They lack offensive depth, and do not have any top goal scorers which will be a problem when they need to regain the lead.

LETS GO DUCKS!!!

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