Detroit Red Wings (29-7-6, 2nd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (22-17-5, t-5th in west)
Author's note: we wil be having an SBN comment-fest later on during game time. Feel free to stop by, no matter who you root for.
Here's a fun fact for you: in its franchise history, Anaheim has qualified for the playoffs six times, and in every odd-numbered year they've qualified, they have met up with Detroit ('97, '99, '03, '07). In 2006 and 2008 the Ducks qualified but the matchup was avoided. For sure 2009 is an odd-numbered year; the only question remains whether Anaheim's going to play past game 82 this time around.
I'm not sure why I bothered to label each character, but still, who will get the power play pellet tonight?
It's certainly been an odd year for the Ducks (groan) -- they're still sitting in a decent spot in a lackluster western conference, despite winning only 4 of their last 11, but the pack is certainly getting close. But you know -- positivity! The Ducks have yet to really start playing well for any stretch, and there's definitely one benefit to being stuck in a crowd at the midpoint of the season -- the Ducks need to pick up their pace in the 2nd half to qualify, and should they pull that off it makes for a nice bit of momentum heading into the spring.
Don't let my positivity fool you, though -- there's still tons to be worried about come springtime, even if the Ducks do get their game in order. San Jose, Detroit, Calgary, Chicago -- pretty much any opponent in the west's top four is a potential death-trap, and the Ducks will probably be underdogs in nearly any matchup. Still, if there's any lesson to be learned from 2003, beware the determined underdog.
A few bullets for ya:
- I really enjoyed Fenwick's piece at BoA about plus-minus and Rod Brind'Amour. Don't worry if you're not too numbers-inclined: I point it out more for its discussion points, and I think it gives a very reasoned take on the weaknesses of reading too much into a flawed statistic.
- Death to Blogspot? I don't know what's going on, but full congrats to the Falconer for moving his old blog to the SBN conglomoverse -- Bird Watchers Anonymous is an excellent addition to the Southeast end of things. Also, The Pensblog has moved to a new site -- make sure you update your favorites. If a giant tidal wave took out the entire east coast of North America, The Pensblog is probably the biggest reason why I'd care (fully trusting that Sleek's siblings don't read this blog).
- For your Red Wings angle tonight, there's SBN's Winging It In Motown, plus the old rival-favorites: Abel to Yzerman and On the Wings. For any visiting Red Wing readers, here's a post you can read from last summer: The Red Wings’ Biggest Rival: the Ducks? Here’s Five Reasons Why…
Prediction: 7 of the Ducks' last 11 games have ended in a 4-3 score, and I'm a guy who likes safe bets. Ducks 4, Red Wings 3. Goals by Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. Oops, I mean Perry, Ryan, Pahlsson, and Morrison.