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Red Wings Take Game 7, Ready to Face the Blackhawks

After finishing in the second spot for the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks entered the playoffs with high expectations but instead let the Detroit Red Wings take the series after defeating them 3-2 in Sunday’s Game 7.

The Ducks got off to a rough start, falling behind 2-1 by the end of the first period with Emerson Etem grabbing the sole score. In the third period, Francois Beauchemin hit another goal for the Ducks to make it a 3-2 game but the home team just couldn’t get it done.

Redwings Henrik Zetterberg

Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg

Ducks Goalie Jonas Hiller had 29 saves for the night while the Red Wings Henrik Zetteberg and Valtteri Filppula both had a goal with an assist while goalie Jimmy Howard had 31 saves.

In this Ducks series, Zetteberg ended things on a good note as he had seven points over the last three games; this follows his one assist in the series’ first four games.

For Anaheim, the loss stings as they had the greatest winning percentage in franchise history from this shortened season along with the Pacific Division title for a second time.

Coach Bruce Boudreau is used to seeing his team go south in the playoffs after his four years with the Washington Capitals. They never made it after the second playoff round after four successful regular seasons.

Looking ahead for the Ducks, Teemu Selanne, 42, may have played his final game for the team. He is their leading scorer who waffles about his retirement each summer. As usual, the veteran player said he’ll take some time and think about whether or not to hang up his skates.

Perhaps affecting his decision is the fact that Selanne went without a goal in this series’ last six games.

Blackhawks Ready to Play Division Rival

The Blackhawks will enter their series against the Red Wings well rested after they wrapped things up against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday evening.

These two teams have a long history of playing one another in the Stanley Cup playoffs –15 times since 1934–and the Blackhawks sit with an 8-7 lead. They last met in 2008 for the Western Conference final where the Red Wings won it in five games.

This rivalry will come to an end as this is the last season between the two: the Red Wings will switch over to the Eastern Conference next season.

During this year’s regular season, the Blackhawks won all four games against the Red Wings for a first sweep against their rival since the 1976-77 season. Their wins included a 2-1 OT in Chicago (Jan. 27); a 2-1 shootout in Detroit (March 3); 7-1 in Detroit (March 31); and a 3-2 shootout in Chicago (April 12).

Blackhaws Corey Crawford

Blackhawks Corey Crawford

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has played well against the Red Wings as he saved 121 shots while allowing five goals over their four games; he had a 1.19 GAA.

Crawford said of his success this season via ESPN, “I don’t know. I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those teams I guess has gone well for me. Every game is different. It’s just who knows. We’ve had some big games against them this year. It’s just one of years, I guess, against a team you’ve played well and everything has gone right for you.”

Red Wings goalie Howard didn’t fare as well going 0-1-3 with a 2.50 GAA in the regular season against the Blackahawks but he played well against the Ducks. He stopped more than 30-plus shots in all four of the team’s wins, including its three overtime victories.

The Blackhawks sit at +250 to win the Stanley Cup while the Red Wings come in at +1400.

The league hasn’t announced a final schedule for the Western Conference semifinals but the Los Angeles Kings, with a home-ice advantage, will play the San Jose Sharks.

Take your pick: the Kings and the Sharks are both +700 to win the Stanley Cup.

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