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Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals series between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings starts tonight, which means today’s Around the Rink is all about series predictions and previews.
What’s your pick?
Before we roundup what the media pundits are predicting, we want to know who you think will win this series and how many games it will take them to do it.
At the Detroit Free Press, beat reporter Helene St. James and columnists Michael Rosenberg and Drew Sharp picks the Wings in six while beat writer George Sipple likes the Wings in five. Ansar Khan of MLive.com predicts the Wings win in six. Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy blog thinks the Wings will pull it out in seven. Dan Wood of the OC Register thinks that home ice advantage will be the difference maker and goes with Detroit in seven.
Who are the big names in this series?
For the Ducks, it starts with Swiss netminder Jonas Hiller who replaced J.S. Giguere during the season. Anaheim’s top line composed of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan is a formidable one. With Getzlaf logging around 26 minutes a game, it won’t be possible for Detroit to simply put out one defensive pairing when he’s on the ice. The Wings will have to spread the defensive responsibilities around when it comes to covering Getzlaf.
For Detroit, there’s humble Marian Hossa writes Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski. Because of Hiller’s dominance in net, players like Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Cleary and Johan Franzen become even more important in this series. They will be expected to screen Hiller and tip in shots throughout the series. According to the Detroit Free Press, Kris Draper will remain out with an undisclosed injury for Games 1 and 2.
All in all, the series boils down to who can play disciplined. Wings head coach Mike Babcock says that his team won’t be involved in any scrums after the whistle blows and Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle wants to see his team stay out of the box.
In other news…
The Detroit Free Press has a great piece on the interesting, and sometimes unusual, things that fans have done to show their support to a player.
You can read the Game Notes for tonight’s contest with a breakdown of team stats and leaders for each team.
Be sure to stop by WingsLIVE if you’re by a computer for live narrative during the game. Game 1 starts tonight at 7 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast on Versus and CBC.