Ducks Gameday—Mike Chen is the coolest

Detroit Red Wings (2nd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (8th in west)
Ducks lead series 2-1, JavaGeek Odds: ANA 58%
Winging It In Motown, A2Y, On the Wings, CLS mini-blog: all being tested for "Shark Flu".

You have to go back to the last time Anaheim and Detroit met in the postseason -- 2007 WCF G6 -- to find a Wings playoff game where they trailed in a best-of-seven series.  You'd probably have to go that far back to find a game where they weren't favored by JavaGeek's odds in a series, also.  In other words, it's been a while since Detroit has faced any real playoff adversity -- and no matter how merited or unmerited you think the Ducks' lead has been, somehow Anaheim has defied the odds and put themselves in a strong position once more.

It's a terrifying place to be, actually -- don't think for a second that I'm resting comfortably on any 58% computer calculation -- the Wings are more than capable of flipping the odds right back, and there will be no shortage of motivation on their end tonight.  But as scary as the Detroit machine is, the Ducks do have a huge opportunity in tonight's game -- and as always the brunt of that will fall on the capable shoulders of Jonas Hiller.

Here's an update of the "Every Three Years" prophecy table (every three years an Anaheim netminder makes his playoff debut and shines):

Goalie GP W-L Min. GA SA GAA SvPct SO
Giguere 2003 21 15-6 1,407 38 697 1.62 .945 5
Bryzgalov 2006 11 6-4 659 16 285 1.46 .944 3
Hiller 2009 9 6-3 585 17 375 1.74 .955 2

Still waiting for those back-to-back-to-back shutouts, Hiller.

* * *

In a related note, Mike Chen and I did make a t-shirt bet on the outcome of the Sharks/Ducks series (one I fully expected to lose), and the winner was originally going to select an item from NHL.com's store.  But Chen -- that guy is one classy bet-payer, let me tell you.  He went off the board with my reward shirt, and Photoshopped / CafePressed this historically-insensitive beauty (not his idea; see my old post: How Funny is Evil?):

Heilshirt_medium
For the subtly insensitive Ducks fan.

It arrived on Tuesday before G3, and I haven't had an opportunity to show it off yet (I'll definitely have to pick those opportunities carefully), but for sure better than anything I'd likely find on the NHL.com site.  Way to go, Chen.

* * *

One last sidenote, in case I'm too lazy to post it later. Be sure to have an extra drink on Saturday night -- it'll be Battle of California's third birthday.  Hard to believe that what originally started as a Mirtle blog-joke has taken such legs of its own, but lots of thanks to the writers, fellow bloggers, readers, and commenters -- you guys are aces.

I did save one so-so picture for after the jump.  Artistically, it's not the strongest, but I was damn glad to see Teemu Selanne score a beauty breakaway to open the scoring in G3.  The Finnish Flash may be aging and may not battle through checks the way he once did, but it's still nice to see what he can accomplish with some open ice.  His plans for next season have been murky (though he's on an affordable contract) -- but I for one certainly hope he returns. 

Teemunatorsalvation_medium
"I'll be back.  Maybe."

It's Thursday, which means my schedule sucks once again.  I'll be following the first two periods of tonight's game on cell phone updates, but should be joining the comments at some point in the 3rd.

Prediction: Controversy.  Wouldn't really be a Wings/Ducks playoff game without it, I suppose.

Go Ducks.

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