For a 22d straight season, the Red Wings are in the playoffs, but they needed a ferocious finishing kick (four straight wins) to avoid ending a tremendous streak that has included four Cups (1997, ’98, ’02 and ’08). For all their frustration in the shortened season, the Wings still have a very impressive attack with the likes of premier forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg (each above a point-per-game this season). The overall Winged Wheel offense is not nearly as robust any longer, but it remains a fine skating unit, still capable of piling up goals if anyone takes them for granted. The Ducks picked up the rhythm coach Bruce Boudreau put in place last season and made it back to the postseason after posting two DNQs in the previous three years. Their prime forwards, including Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan, are much younger than their Detroit counterparts and Boudreau’s love for pushing the puck could make it very difficult for the Wings to contain the attack, especially with Nicklas Lidstrom no longer the icon in residence on the Detroit backline.

Prediction: Red Wings in 7.

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