This the the ninth time the Ducks have gone to the post season. It will be the sixth time they have to face the Detroit Red Wings.
No wonder these two teams and their fans hate each other. They are sick of seeing each other.
The first time they met in 1997, the Ducks put up a huge fight, taking the Red Wings to multiple overtimes. They still were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, but it was a worthy battle nonetheless.
The next time they met in 1999 it was a quick four games and out in the first round. That was redeemed in 2003 when karma turned the tables and defending Stanley Cup champs were ousted in a four game sweep that felt very satisfying to frustrated Anaheim fans. Anaheim took that momentum all the way to game seven of the Cup finals that year, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere earning the Conn Smythe trophy for his efforts that began making history against Detroit in the first round.
In 2006 Anaheim did not have to face Detroit in the playoffs. Someone else got to finish them off before Anaheim lost in the Western Conference Finals to Edmonton.
In 2007, harmony was restored to the universe and the Ducks and Red Wings met once again. Detroit did not make it easy on them. Meeting up in the Western Conference Finals, Teemu Selanne's overtime goal in Detroit in game five was the turning point in the series. Ducks won the series and won their first Stanley Cup.
Suffering from Cup hangover, the Ducks made it to the postseason in 2008, but lost to Dallas in the first round. By 2009 they had regrouped and made it past the first round (San Jose). In the second round it was the Red Wings once again. This time Detroit was victorious in game seven and moved on, only to lose in the Cup Finals.
The Ducks did not make the playoffs in 2010, despite a push at the end, and in 2011 they were quickly sent home by Nashville in the post season. Another mediocre season and inability to make the post season in 2012 gave the Ducks the motivation they needed to get there again in the lockout shortened season.
So once again, Detroit it is.
Not one single media source is predicting the Ducks to win. But there are a lot of "going to game seven" predictions, which shows that most of the media think it will be a close one. I cannot disagree on that point.
“We understand what people think and say," said the always forthright Bobby Ryan. "Really, nobody gave us the credit to be where we are here. Why would they go ahead and give it to us now? We understand that. We’ll just continue to surprise hopefully."
It's the playoffs. Anything can happen. Let the games begin and at the end, the predictions will either be right or they will be wrong. It will be fun to watch how it unfolds and the fun starts tonight.