The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have alternated wins through six games of the Western Conference Finals. Four of the last five games have been decided by one goal. Three have gone to overtime.
And now it all comes down to one game – Game 7, Saturday night in Anaheim.
Can the Ducks advance to their first Stanley Cup since 2007? Can they get the job done at home?
Dan Wood says yes.
“One thing the Ducks have going for them this year compared to in past years, is they have much better depth,” the Ducks radio color analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They can put four lines on the ice that are threats to score depending on how they line things up. Not many teams can do that. There’s a lot of attention being paid to the fact that in the last couple of games, Chicago has put Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line at times, and (there is) speculation that Joel Quenneville will do that tomorrow night. Certainly that’s a dangerous weapon. That’s a tremendous line. But it takes away some of your balance, and if the Blackhawks do that, I think the Ducks can focus their defensive energy on that line, and if you can even get a push there, you figure you can win the game with your other three line match-ups.”
With Toews, Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Saad and others, the Blackhawks are deep and talented with superstars that come at you in waves. Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf – who have combined for 11 goals and 26 assists in the playoffs – are incredibly talented in their own right, but it’s fair to say that Chicago has more top-end talent.
The Ducks, however, might have the advantage in the depth department.
“If you look at the numbers, particularly goals and points, people like Patrick Maroon, Matt Beleskey, Jakob Silfverberg have come up really big in these playoffs,” Wood said. “The Ducks have the highest-scoring group of defensemen of any team in the playoffs. Chicago has Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, two tremendous defensemen. The Ducks are deeper on the blue line. There’s no question about that. So each of these clubs really has some amazing strengths. So I think (Saturday) night, you’re going to see a battle between – if not the two best teams in the league, certainly two of the top three. They’re the last three standing. I think it’s going to be great entertainment, and what the Ducks have to prove is that they can win these big games. Chicago’s (core group has been there, done that. The Ducks’ core croup hasn’t. Getzlaf, Perry and (Francois) Beauchemin were young players when they won the Cup in 2007. So that’s the next step for the Ducks – and that’s the step they want to take (Saturday) night.”
The puck drops at 8 p.m. ET. The winner will face Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Finals.