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What Went Wrong: The Anaheim Ducks

05/13/13
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This is a continuing series that will explore why the various teams that fall by the wayside did exactly that.

How crappy the Ducks must feel blowing Detroit out in game 3 and having them on the ropes in games 4 and 6.  Unfortunately for them Detroit rounded into old-Detroit form at the end of the season and continued that trend in the playoffs.

All year long purveyors of advanced stats were outing the Ducks as frauds.  Despite their gaudy +24 even strength goal differential, they were pretty average on shots coming in at 26.8 per game for, and 26.7 per game against.  Add a mediocre division, some puck luck, and whatever Viktor Fasth was, and you get the West’s second seed in a shortened season.  It’s hard to say whether Los Angeles (7 points back) or San Jose (9 points back) would have run down Anaheim for the division given a full slate of games, but it would have been close.

I thought the Ducks would have just enough to get by Detroit before being someone’s second round fodder, but I didn’t count on Teemu Selanne (1g, 2a) and Corey Perry (0g, 2a) essentially being no-shows.  No offense to Kyle Palmieri (3g, 2a), Nick Bonino (3g, 1a), Emerson Etem (3g, 2a), and Matt Beleskey (2g, 1a) but these guys shouldn’t be blowing the doors off of two players with Stanley Cup Rings.

On the other side, the big guns were all there.  Henrik Zetterberg had 3g and 5a, Johan Franzen chipped in 3g, and “is he overrated, is he underrated, maybe by now he’s just rated” Pavel Datsyuk had 2g and 5a.  Add in role players Daniel Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, and Justin Abdelkader doing role player things, and newcomers Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist and the Red Wings were just a little bit better.  The Detroit of old showed up for at least one more series, losing shots on goal (225-218) but directing more shots towards the net overall (442-397).  Perhaps the shot blocking services of the Abdelkapitated Toni Lydman would have made the difference, but we can only speculate.

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