Detroit vs. Anaheim Series Primer

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by HFNHL Red Wings, May 11, 2007.

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  1. A battle of overachievers versus underachievers? That’s really the only way explain why on paper the Wings look so much stronger yet in terms of results the teams were so statistically similar. Most notably the Wings only scored 12 more goals on the year than the Ducks who finished only 5 games back.

    Here are some key individuals and aspects to watch in this series.

    (i) Sean Burke’s Fatigue
    The Ducks had one of the worst shots against averages in the league yet the team finished in the top 10 in terms of goals against average.. The credit for this goes all to Burke who finished the year with a .914 save percentage while his backup, Jussi Markannen only managed a .878 save percentage.
    The consequence of all these shots was that Burke tended to fatigue easily and only played in 57 of the team’s games.
    The Ducks will certainly try to keep the shot count down and protect their MVP.

    (ii) Brendan Morrow and Bryan Smolinski
    This series features two of the three best clutch goal scorers in the league as they tied, along with Peter Forsberg, for the league lead in game winning goals at 9. In Morrow’s case 43% of his goals were game winners.

    (iii) Depth Scoring
    While both teams boast 4 solid lines it could be argued that the Wings hold a slight advantage here with 7 of their 12 forwards having scored 20 or more goals compared to five for the Ducks.

    (iv) Special teams
    On paper special teams should be irrelevant as both teams are amongst the least penalized teams in the league, have had mediocre success on the PP, and are amongst the best penalty killers.
    So why note this as something to watch then? Well both teams have shown that their PK units are not just great defenders, they are fairly successful in scoring short handed goals as well. The Wings are tied for the fourth most short handed goals while the Ducks have Sami Kapanen who is tied for the second most short handed goals at three.
    Long shot bet - don’t be surprised if the cumulative number of shorthanded goals in the series is the same or higher than the number of PP goals scored by the team that wins the series.

    (v) Mental Toughness
    In many ways the Ducks have been a Cinderella story all season long. The chemistry has been perfect and as a result have proven they are better than the sum of their parts. This team is brimming with confidence and believes, together, they can win any series.
    Conversely the Wings are coming in with the pressure of not only being the betting favorite, if not the fan favorite, but having some playoff demons to slay. Those demons not only include last years first round playoff collapse but reminders in the press about their 4-2 series loss to the Ducks in the second round of the 2003/04 playoffs.
    The Wings have nine players on their current roster that played in both those defeats and it will be up to GM/Coach Drew Niece to turn those demons into motivation.

    Prediction: This series is too close to call.

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