The Anaheim Ducks finished the lockout-shortened season as the second seed in the Western Conference. Their entry into the Stanley Cup playoffs was never really in doubt.
The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, had to fight right down to the final Saturday of the regular season in order to make the playoffs. The last time they did not qualify for the post-season was in 1990, so there was a very impressive streak on the line.
On paper, it would seem as though the Ducks are the favorites heading into this quarter-final, which begins Tuesday in Anaheim.
As one might expect, the Ducks were saying all the right things on Monday, heaping praise on the Red Wings and deflecting any heightened pressure.
“Have you listened to the media the last couple of days?” Ducks forward and captain Ryan Getzlaf told the L.A. Times.
“We are not the favorite, trust me. It’s the same story as the whole season. We’re prepared for that.”
The Red Wings, with a playoff appearance hanging dangerously in the balance down the stretch, found a way to win four straight games to close out the season.
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has seen an improvement in his team’s play, but it always helps when you get good goaltending.
On Monday, Red Wings puck stopper Jimmy Howard was named NHL’s first star of the week after posting four straight wins – two of those being shutouts.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.