Ducks Gameday—Will the Ducks be a speed bump or a roadblock on Wing Street?

Detroit Red Wings (2nd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (8th in west)
Series tied 1-1, JavaGeek Odds: DET 60%
Winging It In Motown, A2Y, On the Wings -- all staying up past their bedtimes tonight.

Hooray, we're not getting swept!

I think it's worth pointing out how difficult it is to pick up a road split in the first two games when starting a best-of-seven series in Detroit; in fact, you have to go back six series in Detroit's history to find the last team to accomplish that feat -- the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. In between, Detroit took G1 and G2 at home against five straight opponents, none of them even got to see an overtime, and the Wings used that 2-0 series lead to win each series.  Here's how those five opponents fared:

2008 1 Nashville 1 3 1 0 / 4 0 / 4 40 20
2008 1 Nashville 2 4 2 1 / 6 1 / 5 38 27
2008 2 Colorado 1 4 3 1 / 5 0 / 3 36 21
2008 2 Colorado 2 5 1 2 / 7 0 / 5 40 20
2008 3 Dallas 1 4 1 3 / 7 0 / 4 31 21
2008 3 Dallas 2 2 1 1 / 6 1 / 5 34 18
2008 4 Pittsburgh 1 4 0 1 / 6 0 / 5 36 19
2008 4 Pittsburgh 2 3 0 0 / 8 0 / 3 34 22
2009 1 Columbus 1 4 1 1 / 4 0 / 5 34 21
2009 1 Columbus 2 4 0 3 / 10 0 / 2 39 25
Ten-game total: 37 10 13 / 63
2 / 41
362 214

The Wings' opponents lost by an average score of 3.7 to 1, and in the ten games got a total (!) of two power play goals. By contrast, the Ducks in their recent two games scored three power play goals.  Certain trends did hold, however -- the Red Wings outshot the Ducks by 29 shots over the two games, and did score on 1/3 of their power plays (though one was a major) -- but in the one stat that truly matters, the lucky Ducks snuck out of Hockeytown with a rare "W".

I guess there are some benefits to Anaheim's "criminal" style.

Now as impressive as a road split may seem, the Ducks haven't really done anything yet except earn a trip back to Detroit for G5.  Despite taking home ice, JavaGeek still has the Wings as a 3-to-2 favorite.  And even though the Ducks did win their last two home games convincingly (outscored the Sharks 8-1), Anaheim really hasn't been that strong a home team over the course of the season -- it's been nearly five months since they won three consecutive at the Honda Center.

Still, it is now a best-of-five series, and the Ducks do have one lucky green factor working for them tonight:

That's right, Sleek's snuck himself back in to Row B for tonight's contest, however many overtimes it may be.  You can look for the lucky green shirt on TV, or if you're at the game feel free to say hi.  I won't be around for comments tonight, but you guys have been doing stellar without me. 

Time for some green shirt insurance.

One last trend to note: there's a lot of easy parallels to draw between the opening two games of this series and the 2007 WCF.  In both series, the Wings score a late regulation winner in G1; the Ducks snag an overtime decision in G2.  If they stick to that pattern, the G3 script calls for a 5-0 loss and a suspension to Anaheim's best player.  Yikes.

Prediction: Ducks rewrite the '07 script, and Sleek has a Happy Cinco.

Tonight is Sink-o Detroit-o.

Go Patos.

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