We’ll examine the potential future challenges for the Anaheim Ducks in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. Can the Ducks use the advantage of being the conference #1 seed and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals? What team will present Anaheim with the sternest challenge in their plight to do so?
Will it be a Duck Dynasty in 2015?
It came down to the final day of the NHL regular season to sort things out, but the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the top seed in the Western Conference by virtue of a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. In this article I’ll cover the teams that I see as the Ducks toughest potential playoff opponents in the Western Conference portion of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jets won’t be a Pushover
The Winnipeg Jets will be a very tough first round opponent for the Ducks. Despite Winnipeg qualifying in the final wild card spot in the West, they certainly earned the right to be in the playoffs with some stellar play down the stretch of the regular season. Ondrej Pavalec enters the playoffs playing extremely well in goal. Since a trade deadline deal with Buffalo in which they acquired Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers, the Jets seemed to play with more of a renewed confidence. Those who make NHL picks know that Anaheim did win all three games versus Winnipeg this season, but two of those three wins came in overtime.
Canucks and Flames
If the Ducks are fortunate enough to get by the Jets in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, they’ll either face the Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks. NHL odds makers realize that the Flames will be a loose bunch entering the postseason. Nobody expected Calgary to be here prior to the start of the season. Playing teams like Calgary in the playoffs, possessing that type of mindset can be a very dangerous proposition. Vancouver has rebounded from a disappointing 2013-2014 campaign which saw them fail to make the playoffs. Although, I firmly believe a series matchup with the Ducks will be an unfavorable one for Vancouver.
If the Ducks reach the Conference Final
In my professional opinion, the Chicago Blackhawks will reach the Western Conference Finals, and they’ll present a major challenge for any team including Anaheim. The Ducks must also overcome postseason failures in recent years after putting together a strong regular season resume. If you haven’t picked up on it already, I don’t like the Ducks chances of getting to the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals.