I dig previews. It shows how little most of the supposed experts really know. So why wait? Lets take a look.
Helene St. James – Red Wings in six. The travel will test, but the way the Red Wings have been playing for the past week should carry them through this series. The Wings already showed twice this season that they can win in Anaheim. The key will be scoring first and forcing the Ducks to chase the puck. The other key will be to watch penalties, because Anaheim has a very good power play. The Ducks don't have the relentlessness of the Chicago Blackhawks, so if the Wings can establish themselves early, it'd be huge.
Jeff Seidel – Red Wings in six. The Wings beat the Ducks twice in their building during the regular season. Since then, the Wings are even better and have added Danny DeKeyser.
Drew (I Don't Care What the Fans Think) Sharp – Red Wings in six. Always go with the hot team and the hot goalie in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Wings are probably far from a consensus underdog in this series, considering the recent history of low seeds going far in the playoffs.
George Sipple – Ducks in six. The Red Wings wouldn’t have extended their streak of making the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons if not for the play of goaltender Jimmy Howard. While the Wings may have the better goaltender, the Ducks prove to be the better team.
Isn't it sad how little the Detroit beat writers actually know about the Wings other than St. James? Look at how little detail each writer put. Sipple: "Wings have a better goaltender, but Ducks have the better team." Really George? Do you know who the Ducks' goaltenders are?
Drew "I'm smarter than you" Sharp manages to do his usual of saying nothing while saying something. And Jeff Seidel, whoever he is, states the series record. Good for you Jeff. I wonder why the Free Press is struggling…
Over at the Detroit News with Kuflan, things are a little better, but his analysis doesn't seem to agree with his prediction:
Storylines: Two teams heading into different directions? Anaheim was the second-best team in the league for the early part of the schedule but ended April with a 7-5-1 record. The Red Wings won four consecutive games to make the playoffs and they're playing their best hockey of the season. The Ducks are deeper than in past seasons but C Ryan Getzlaf and LW Corey Perry are still heavily counted on for offense.
Key player: Anaheim RW Teemu Selanne. At 42, age appears to have finally caught up with Selanne this season; he was dropped to the fourth line at one point. But he can still be dangerous for one series.
Prediction: Anaheim in 7
So Detroit is hot while the Ducks aren't, Selanne is old and really they are a one or two line team. He takes a deeper look here and says that while both forward squads are better than their defense, Detroit has better goaltending, so the Ducks win? Makes tons of sense Kuflan.
Lets take a look from around the hockey world, after the break:
Most hockey folk actually are calling for an upset in round one. Heck, even the local LA Times thinks Detroit will win (couldn't see the OC Register because they are a pay service. Stupid rich folk:):
Outlook: The Ducks had a great start but struggled to score during the late stages of the season, and their goaltending swung wildly between superb and lamentable. Jimmy Howard gives the Red Wings steady goaltending and Henrik Zetterberg (11 goals, 48 points) has raised his game. For the Ducks to advance and quiet the big Detroit cheering section that always shows up in Anaheim, Getzlaf, Corey Perry and bruising defenseman Francois Beauchemin must be leaders and the second and third lines must produce.
Prediction: Red Wings in seven.
The Ducks have been getting the better side of percentages this season and that could make them ripe for the upset. A little regression and it's not so easy if you're not outshooting the opponent. … If the Red Wings maintain a possession edge, that means whomever is in net for Anaheim, Viktor Fasth or Jonas Hiller, will have to get the better of Jimmy Howard. Possible, sure, but Howard has played well this year and it's what makes the Wings a viable upset pick.
The Pick: Red Wings in six.
THE EDGE GOES TO:
SPECIAL TEAMS EVEN
Winner and why: Even though 10 points separated them in the standings, there might not be two teams that are more evenly matched than the Ducks and the Red Wings in the first round. During the regular season, each team registered one blowout victory before the Red Wings defeated the Ducks 2-1. Both teams have Cup-winning experience throughout their lineups and elite, high-end forwards who can be difference makers. Red Wings in 7.
Led by Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings are coming into the playoffs on a roll and can steal games behind goalie Jimmy Howard. The Ducks had a great regular season behind goalies Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth and center Ryan Getzlaf, but it ends here. Detroit's experience and improved defense will be the difference. Prediction: Red Wings in six.
Big picture: The Red Wings, in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, surged at season’s end and are the only playoff team to finish with four consecutive wins. They’ve leaned heavily on goalie Jimmy Howard. … Anaheim has offensive firepower ( Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, the ancient Teemu Selanne) but has excelled with solid defense and a top goalie tandem (Jonas Hiller/Viktor Fasth). Pick: Ducks in seven. The Wings are a transitional team with talent and momentum, but Anaheim should have enough to advance.
So there you have it, overall a fairly split pick. Our picks later.