Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Round 2 Game 1: Maggie Picked Us
On paper, the Anaheim Ducks are a much better team than the Vancouver Canucks. In the regular season, they scored half a goal more per game (3.10 - 2.65) and their powerplay was five points more efficient (22.4% - 17.2%). They beat up the other team more and led the league in fighting majors and penalty minutes.
The head-to-head match-up isn't much better. The Ducks and the Canucks played each other four times and the Ducks won three of them; they outscored the Canucks 14-6 in those games.
There's no denying this is going to be a tough series for the Canucks. Up front, the Ducks have a bigger, quicker, and arguably, a more skilled group of skaters; on their back end, they have Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin.
The Canucks, however, have Roberto Luongo, the great neutralizer. If they are going to have a chance in this series, Louie is going to have to be great again. Hard to believe that he can be better than he was in the Stars series, but it has to help now that he has one playoff series and one playoff series win now under his belt.
Remember too that the Canucks won the Dallas series despite scoring just 13 goals (two of them in empty nets) in seven games. The hope is that they'll score more goals this time.
Almost every pundit I've seen or read in the last couple of days - with the exception of Maggie the Monkey - has picked the Ducks to win this series. If I was Alain Vigneault, I'd post those predictions in the locker room and then ask his boys to prove them wrong.
The game 1 preview pieces:
- Intriguing GM meeting. (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province)
- Luongo, Giguere, key net matchup. (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Sizing up sizable opposition. (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Ducks better in everywhere but net. (Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province)
- Read between the lines for injury status. (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Selanne likes his chances. (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)
- Just between friends. (Cam Cole, Vancouver Sun)
- Don't be fooled. (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- No ducking now. (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Ducks still pretty mighty against Vancouver. (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Canucks hope to catch resting Canucks off-guard. (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Several Canucks nursing wounds. (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Series not about us. (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Burke and Linden forever linked, even in playoffs. (Grant Kerr, Globe and Mail)
- Matchup just Ducky for Burke. (Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal)
- Brian Burke says it's no big deal. (Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun)
- Friends Burke, Nonis won't be pulling for each other. (USA Today)
- Canucks' goalie Luongo is focus of attention. (Lonnie White, LA Times)
- Impact of Ducks' Burke is felt on both sides in NHL playoff series. (Eric Stephens, LA Times)
- Rest doesn't mean relax for Ducks. (Eric Stephens, LA Times)
- Familiarity breeds competition. (OC Register)
Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.
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