The Hockey News
About the Ducks: "We know what Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will bring, but look at the emergence of Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino, Kyle Palmieri, and Andrew Cogliano, a guy who really impresses me. . . They've got leadership in spades with Teemu Selanne, Getzlaf, Perry, Saku Koivu, Francois Beauchemin, and now Stephane Robidas. . . I'm not sure there's any team that wants the Ducks in the first round."
About the Stars: "What impresses me about the Stars is their blinding speed. They play such an up-tempo game and just keep bringing the heat at all times. And I don't know if there's a more dynamic combo in the league right now than Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Those two guys are hungry, unafraid, motivated and versatile."
PREDICTION: "Anaheim hasn't made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2008-09 and analytic stats suggest they're a good upset bet during this post-season as well. But it's hard to imagine Dallas upsetting Anaheim." Ducks in six
Hockey Night in Canada
About the Ducks: "When the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were two kids who offered up secondary scoring while complementing the top line of veterans. . . They are now the go-to guys and very worthy of the responsibility that comes with the job. In the NHL these days it's all about a team's one-two punch and Getzlaf and Perry are one of the league's most dynamic duos."
About the Stars: "Big changes in Dallas have produced immediate results. New GM Jim Nill, a graduate of the University of Detroit Red Wings, hired former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and obtained budding star Tyler Seguin from Boston. All three have played significant roles in helping Dallas re-establish the franchise as an NHL force."
PREDICTION: Ducks in six
About the Ducks: "The Ducks sure appear to be leaning towards their rookie non-Jonas Hiller options, with rookie Frederik Andersen having the edge over John Gibson and while Andersen and Gibson have played well when given the chance, neither has the track record to suggest they couldn't possibly run into problems in an NHL playoff series."
About the Stars: "Both teams have an elite pair of forwards on the top line, but after that, the scoring is done by committee, so it's not inconceivable that the Stars might be able to grind out a few extra goals from the supporting cast. . . Finally, the Stars are a Top 10 possession team and the Ducks' success has largely been predicated on an unsustainably-high shooting percentage (10.7% at 5-on-5). . . maybe the Stars could benefit from some regression that is overdue at this point."
PREDICTION: Stars in seven
About the Ducks: "Both teams have plenty of firepower but Anaheim has a little better depth - especially with Stars center Rich Peverley (heart condition) out. Ducks third-line left wing Andrew Cogliano and fourth-line center Nick Bonino both topped 20 goals. . . Anaheim was upset in the first round last season by Detroit after a strong season, so the Ducks have plenty to prove. They're also riding the emotions of beloved wing Teemu Selanne's final season."
About the Stars: "Nobody played more games (65) this season than Dallas' Kari Lehtonen, who has a solid .919 save percentage despite the Stars' defensive deficiencies. Scrappy Dallas center Vernon Fiddler will be asked to corral Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf, a Hart Trophy candidate. Fiddler did the job in a 1-0 victory in late January, but a lengthy series is a far greater challenge."
PREDICTION: Ducks in six
About the Ducks: "For a team with so much talent that won so many games, it's somewhat bizarre that the Ducks had a power play that was in the bottom third of the NHL and a penalty kill that was middle of the road. It also tells you how strong the team is at even strength, the Ducks ranking second in 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio.
About the Stars: "Quite the tip of the hat to GM Jim Nill. He was brought in last offseason to rebuild the organization from the ground up, and there's no question Nill is still focused on the big picture and long-term forecast for the organization. But to make the playoffs in his first season thanks in large part to the blockbuster Tyler Seguin acquisition and the hiring of Lindy Ruff as head coach, both done last summer, is like having your cake and eating it too. Nill, by the way, did the classy thing at the trade deadline and moved pending UFA veteran Stephane Robidas to Anaheim, giving the longtime Stars blueliner a chance to go to a Cup contender. Now the Stars will be trying to ruin that chance. Interesting subplot indeed."
PREDICTION: "Not overlooking the Stars, or their regular-season success against the Ducks, but this time around Anaheim is ready for more playoff success. The club is simply deeper and more talented than its wild-card opponent." Ducks in five
About the Ducks: "Improve in the faceoff circle. They were under 50% this season. Ride their depth. They have better secondary scoring with Mathieu Perreault, Kyle Palmieri, and Matt Beleskey. . . You aren't going to beat Anaheim 5-on-5."
About the Stars: "[Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin] have more than 30% of Dallas' goals. Lehtonen has to be the Stars' best player. Get goals on the power play. They rank 24th in power-play percentage."
PREDICTION: "The Stars are aligned to give the NHL its most significant first-round upset." Stars in seven
About the Ducks: "The Ducks have two big scorers on their team with Perry and Getzlaf, but the responsibility to score does not rest with them alone. . . Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault and Andrew Cogliano are all over 40 points this year as well. Throw in two 30-point defensemen in Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm and the Ducks have some contributions from all over."
About the Stars: "Benn and Seguin make the Stars go, there's no question. They both play on the same line and have great chemistry. As good as they are, it's hard to know if they could do it by themselves if they had to. . . Kari Lehtonen, meanwhile, is a proven veteran who has maintained a save percentage of .919 this season. . . He is likely going to see a lot of shots, but he has the potential to steal games for this team if they need him to."
PREDICTION: Ducks in six