The Detroit Red Wings ended the regular season with four straight victories to qualify for the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive time. They look to continue their winning streak when they visit the Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series on Tuesday. Seventh-seeded Detroit struggled in its first campaign without seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom before qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. The Red Wings are seeking their seventh conference championship and last in the West as they will make the move to the East next campaign.
The second-seeded Ducks got off to one of the quietest great starts in league history thanks to the Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks' NHL-record 24-game point streak. Anaheim began the season 22-3-4 before enduring a four-game slide that began with back-to-back home losses to the Red Wings. Anaheim seized the first meeting between the clubs, posting a 5-2 victory in Detroit on Feb. 15. The clubs are facing off in the playoffs for the sixth time overall and first since the Red Wings captured a second-round matchup in seven games in 2009. They split their first four postseason series, with Detroit sweeping the first two meetings. The Ducks defeated the Red Wings in both 2003 and 2007 en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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ABOUT THE RED WINGS (24-16-8): Henrik Zetterberg played a large role in keeping Detroit's postseason streak alive. The captain recorded multi-point performances in each of the club's final four contests, including two goals and an assist in the season-ending 3-0 road victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday. By notching 10 points in the four games, Zetterberg earned the NHL's Second Star of the Week honors. He was runner-up to teammate Jimmy Howard, who went 4-0-0 with two shutouts and a 0.75 goals-against average. Howard's blanking of Dallas was his fifth of the season, tying him with four others for the league lead. Defenseman Kyle Quincey was cleared to remove his full face cage but must wear a half-visor, which he elected to do. Quincey suffered multiple facial fractures, including his right orbital bone, when he was hit by a puck in Edmonton on March 15.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (30-12-6): After its superb start, Anaheim stumbled a bit down the stretch as it went through a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) during which it scored a total of five goals. The club appeared to have turned things around as won the final three contests of a four-game road trip by a combined 9-2 score before suffering a season-ending 5-3 home loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. Once again, this may be the last hurrah for Teemu Selanne. The 42-year-old Finn has been contemplating retirement for several years but could finally hang up his skates this summer. Selanne was fifth on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 24 points. Coach Bruce Boudreau has not announced whether Jonas Hiller or Viktor Fasth will get the start in goal but admits the netminders are aware of his choice.
1. The Red Wings are 8-1-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Ducks.
2. Anaheim D Luca Sbisa, who is battling a lower-body injury, participated in practice Monday and could be in the lineup.
3. Detroit's streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances is the longest active run in North American professional team sports.
PREDICTION: Ducks 4, Red Wings 2
Stats and Records
|3/24/13||DET 2||ANA 1||21||33||1-5||34||19||1-3|