Commentary

Puck luck could pluck Ducks

One-goal game success shows Anaheim's talent, but doesn't bode well for playoffs

Updated: April 9, 2011, 9:46 PM ET
By Jonathan Willis | Hockey Prospectus
Anaheim DucksGary A. Vasquez/US PresswireBetter to be lucky than good? Luck may have helped Anaheim thus far. But can it last?

Of the Western Conference dark horses, two stand out as particularly fear-inspiring. The Chicago Blackhawks are the obvious choice for an upset victory given their strong track record against the Vancouver Canucks and the non-trivial fact that they won the Stanley Cup last season. But then there's a more surprising threat: the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks have a track record of upset victories, most recently in 2008-09 when they knocked off the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. They have come on strong late in the season and boast strength at every key position: up front the quartet of Hart Trophy candidate Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan is as fearsome as any in the league, while the defense features a Norris Trophy candidate in Lubomir Visnovsky.

Yet, there's also a case to be made that Anaheim is the weakest of the Western Conference playoff teams and, for all their intimidating pieces, may be set to make a quick exit from the postseason.