Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Playoffs: Round 1, Day 4
Ducks could be cooked

With a handful of minutes left in the third period of Game 2, it's 5-2 for the Stars over the defending champion Ducks, which means Anaheim's about to fall into quite a hole.

And they're headed on the road.

The Ducks are going to now have to win four of the next five games in this series, three of which will be in Texas, and history isn't on their side. Of the 65 series where the home side has dropped the first two games, only 16 teams (24.6%) have come back to win in six or seven games.

And if past results are any indication, Anaheim has only a 50/50 chance of winning Game 3 in Dallas.

I'm not one to often harp on officiating, but some of the calls in this series have been incredible — and I don't mean that in a good way.

Even with the phantom calls, however, Anaheim doesn't deserve to be in this series. They've allowed six power-play goals in two games, with a penalty-kill success rate of about 54 per cent.

This is a team that struggled to score all season, finishing 28th in the category, and really is missing Corey Perry up front at the moment. In other words, the Ducks can't afford to hemorrhage goals against.

I honestly can't see this team defending the Cup.

But give Dallas credit: At this point, the champs are an incredible underdog to take this one past Game 6.

I had a bad feeling about picking Anaheim in this series after reading the Stars' mindset heading in, as the 'us against the world' mentality can do wonders for a team that has a mountain to climb. If Brad Richards plays like this, they could even do some damage beyond Round 1.

They're simply playing with more heart right now.

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At 12:40 a.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Maybe if two of their best players hadn't sat half the season they'd have drawn an easier opponent. They're taking a lot of stupid penalties too. For a while there during the game tonight I was wondering if they were going to get a goal at all in the post-season.

At 12:44 a.m., April 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Ducks get filled with shot in 4 straight, is Brian Burke still a genius?

At 1:05 a.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger rickibear said...

You are correct james the refs have been trying to keep the ducks in these games.

At 3:00 a.m., April 13, 2008, Anonymous Chad said...

The refs haven't been that bad, and the phantom calls have gone both ways. I'm not sure why that even deserved a mention and it comes to a complete surprise to someone who has read your blog daily for close to two years.

At 10:03 a.m., April 13, 2008, Anonymous twain said...

The Ducks are also playing some dirty, dirty, hockey, so even if there are phantom calls going against them, I have also seen quite a few missed calls as well.

At 10:09 a.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger robert cleave said...

It isn't just no Perry, James. Andy McDonald was a legit top six guy last year. Doug Weight isn't. Todd Bertuzzi isn't just a shell of himself, he's a shell of Dustin Penner. Pronger hasn't been as good, either, so the only upgrade is Schneider on defence. By the end of last year, Carlyle could call on 3 set lines that had a clear understanding of their roles, and could execute. Now, not so much.

At 10:55 a.m., April 13, 2008, Anonymous DR said...

Brian Burke is still a genius - in his own mind. His main moves have been no-brainers. Sign Scott Niedermayer and trade for Chris Pronger (for the second time in his career). This season, he has made one bad move after the other. And he didn't draft any of the good young players they have. (I'm not sold on Bobby Ryan.) Burke has also become a parody of himself in his interviews, especially with his enablers at TSN. On the bright side, an early playoff exit means he can take over as Leafs GM well before the draft.

At 12:11 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger Costa said...

I don't understand why this is being treated as such a big surprise. The Stars had the 3rd best Pythagorean record in the league this year, while the Ducks barely cracked the top 10. I realize that a large chunk of that is without Selanne and Niedermayer, but two players can only make so much of a difference. It seemed odd to me that everyone saw this series as so one-sided.

James, you say the Stars are playing with more "heart" and mention the fact they're playing with an "us against the world" mindset. Well, considering that after a slow finish, the Stars still had a far better regulation goal differential (34 to 10), rather than such romantic and intangible reasons you mention, is it not at least possible that the reason the Stars are winning is that they are simply a better team?

At 1:16 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I'm not sure it's worthwhile to include measures of how the Ducks played without Niedermayer and Selanne in the lineup, and I don't think many did in predicting how this one would go.

Dallas, meanwhile, is missing key players like Sergei Zubov, is reportedly playing with Richards hurt, and had a terrible finish to the season. Add in Turco's history in the postseason, and, well, this one's been considered an upset from the beginning.

Anaheim looks almost disinterested.

At 2:43 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger Costa said...

I dunno. It doesn't seem smart to me to just say forget the whole season and think only about what's happened in the last couple of weeks (and almost a year ago).

More to the point though, it's not so much thinking about how good or not the Ducks may be, as much as the fact that people are ignoring that the Stars are good too, a very tough first round draw for Anaheim. To say that if the Ducks would win it's cause they're so good, and if the Stars win it's because the Ducks choked is not fair to the Stars, not giving Dallas enough credit for being able to win this series on the merits of their own talent.

At 2:46 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I'd say it's a little of both.

Besides, I talk about how well Richards has played and that this team can do damage beyond Round 1. There's no question Dallas has played well.

At 5:27 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Todd Bertuzzi isn't just a shell of himself, he's a shell of Dustin Penner

Bertuzzi is nowhere as good as most people think he is.

At 9:32 p.m., April 13, 2008, Blogger Hossim said...

"2006 Playoffs: Round 1, Day 4 Canes could be cooked"

Just sayin that it wasn't that long ago that a team came back from losing the first two games of the series at home.

ps. Dallas in 5?

At 2:02 p.m., April 14, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Add in Turco's history in the postseason

I've never bought into this reputation, and anyone who watched the 1998 NCAA final wouldn't, either.


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