[Ed. Note: In college, we did SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analyses on different topics. I thought it would be a different way to look at the two teams in the playoff series. Here is the SWOT Analysis of the Ducks by Ms. SK; the Red Wings analysis will follow later. - JN]
- Goalie Tandem: The Ducks have been blessed with a dynamic goaltending duo that can only help with their success this post-season. The ability to change netminders with the confidence that either man can step up and do the job will be crucial no matter what opponent the Ducks might face. Bruce Boudreau has expressed that the Ducks intend on using both goalies in the playoffs, something that many opponents will be envious of.
- Physicality: This Ducks roster is blessed with a solid group of players fit with the make-up of both size and skill. Anaheim is at their best when they display their physicality to a maximum. When they're able to wear down the opponent, the ability to possess the puck increases and therefore so do their scoring opportunities.
- Power Play: Ugh. The Ducks power play has seen a dramatic decline in the past few weeks. Somehow the Ducks were able to establish a threat on their man-advantage early in the season, but that threat has somehow vanished. The difference between winning and losing might come down to one missed opportunity on the power play.
- Consistency: Anaheim has shown us time and time again that 60 minutes of hockey isn't always guaranteed from this group. Unfortunately, they can't hold on for a shootout victory because they don't exist in the post season. They're going to need to finish off games in regulation and find a way to establish and maintain leads over the course of the game. Lead too early, they'll get complacent. Fall behind, they'll wait too long to find desperation and urgency needed to win. The Ducks need to establish a comfortable pace that they're able to maintain throughout the duration of the game.
- Penalty Kill: Oddly, while one half of the special teams unit is struggling, the penalty kill seems to be a constant threat. With great pleasure, Anaheim has discovered a solid set of penalty killers who are invasive, menacing pests looking to strip a stumbling opponent of the puck. Emerson Etem has really found a role in Anaheim thanks to his pesky demeanor and great speed which has helped him bloom into a fantastic addition to the penalty killing unit. Add Andrew Cogliano, Daniel Winnik, Saku Koivu and David Steckel to the mix and the Ducks have a great opportunity to exploit even the best power play units.
- Depth: While the scoring depth can be a weakness when they are in a drought, they can also be a huge asset to Anaheim's success. The Ducks have discovered that they are in fact loaded with some fantastic offensive threats that reach well into the depths of the third and fourth line. With recent call-ups of Devante Smith-Pelly and Patrick Maroon, this team has options.
- Scoring depth: Much like the power play, the Ducks saw a glorious disbursement of the scoring wealth early on in the season. However, after the loss of a few players to injuries, the shuffling of lines brought upon a constant development and experimentation in line chemistry that was difficult to establish for Anaheim. The Ducks who were blessed early on with scoring depth from third and fourth liners were soon putting a lot of hope on the backs of their top guys who were also struggling to find the net. If the Ducks are exposed to a lack of scoring it will be blistering to their success going forward.
- Injuries: Just like as it is for any team, injuries and the bug that bites can be damaging. The Ducks are no exception to this and they have already experienced their own fair share this season. Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Bonino are both unlikely to be 100% healed from their own ailments and the team is still practicing without Luca Sbisa. Health from here on out could be the factor that influences everything mentioned above.