In preparation for the Wings/Ducks series, we've already got the bulk of the analysis done. Most of this series will be played at 5-on-5, which would give the Wings the advantage if you're more confident in things like fenwick and would give the Ducks the advantage if you're more confident in the results of shooting the puck.
Now that's done with, we'll look at how special teams and coaching should affect things.We'll see how things match up below.
Anaheim's Power Play versus Detroit's Penalty Kill
By percentage, Anaheim had the fourth-best power play in the league with a 21.5% effectiveness. They started the season going 8/32 in their first ten games and bookended it with a 7/32 figure. In head-to-head over three games, Detroit held the Ducks to just one goal in nine attempts.
The bright side is that, while Anaheim did well percentage-wise, that came on the back edge of the fact that only the Bruins had fewer PP opportunities. Anaheim scored fewer PP goals than 13 other teams thanks to their relative inability to draw penalties. The Ducks also allowed five shorthanded goals, leaving their power play scoring differential over the season at +24 (0.5 per game).
On the flip side, Detroit had the 12th-best PK in the league after getting off to an awful start. The Wings finished in 13th leaguewide for PK effectiveness as a rate, giving up 6.4 goals per 60 minutes of PK time played. Detroit didn't help themselves much by going shorthanded 164 times. Only 11 teams in the NHL went shorthanded more often than the Wings and only 11 teams allowed more power play goals than the Wings.
Detroit's Power Play vs. Anaheim's Penalty Kill
The Wings' PP went on a mid-season hot streak that helped buoy a disappointing man advantage which converted on 18.7% of Detroit's opportunities. Both by percentage and rate, Detroit was in the middle of the pack leaguewide for using their power play as an enforcer. However, thanks to having the 2nd-most PP opportunities in the league (185), the Wings managed to put up the 4th-most total PPG.
Unfortunately, the Wings also allowed five shorties this season. The Wings were much better at home (23.7%) than on the road (12.5).
PK-wise, Anaheim's numbers were very similar to Detroit's. Their 81.5% put them just below the Wings in that regard because they were shorthanded two fewer times over the course of the season, but gave up just as many goals (30). The Ducks' shorthanded goal differential is better though because Anaheim scored five goals shorthanded. Ryan Getzlaf himself put up as many shorthanded goals this season as the entire Red Wings team.
The Verdict: Special teams are kind of a wash. If all things were even, Anaheim should have the overall advantage on scoring rate. We'll see what the playoff reffing standard brings.
It's mind-boggling when you think Bruce Boudreau has a Jack Adams Award and Mike Babcock does not. In a way, Boudreau may be a cautionary tale in regards to the handling of Babcock. Maligned in Washington for failing to get the Capitals into the Cup Finals and then caught in a quagmire of owner interference, Boudreau was fired by the Capitals in November of 2011. Brucey was out of a job for all of two days before Anaheim came calling. Boudreau has a career coaching record of 228-111-48 in the regular season and a 17-20 record in the postseason
Mike Babcock has been robbed of the Jack Adams several times because his best coaching came with teams that people thought didn't need it apparently. Babcock went to the Stanley Cup finals as the coach of the Ducks in 2003. He found his way to Detroit after the lockout, where he's put up a coaching record of 352-154-68.
Personalitywise, Boudreau is known as "Gabby" because he apparently won't shut up. In general, players seem to like him. Babcock might stare a hole directly through your face if you called him "Gabby", so they're a bit different in regards to talkativeness.
Stylewise, both coaches are similar. They use specialists in their places up and down the lineup and will blend lines around to match up when they feel the team needs it. Both coaches generally play the strength-vs-strength matchup where they can. Anaheim plays a bit more aggressively on the forecheck while Detroit continues to play a bit more puck-possession.
The verdict: Bruce Boudreau is a good coach and he's good at taking heat off his players. This also means he's not quite as good at holding them accountable in-game to prevent them from losing their composure. This series is going to be decided by the players though. If it does come down to the coaches, Babcock is the better one.
Other Considerations / The X-Factor
Narrative-wise, both teams have a lot to play for. I don't think this series will be decided by which time tries harder. Hell, it could be as simple as coming down to which team gets more luck over a seven-game span. Tell you what, let's put this one on the Finns. I'm going to say whichever of the players between Teemu Selanne and Valtteri Filppula performs better, that's the guy whose team will have the advantage. This scares me because Selanne is a much better player, but he's also very old and he whines a lot... a lot. On the other side, Valtteri Filppula tends to play better in the postseason and he's playing for that $5M contract to go be somebody else's ill-fitting #1 center.
Go get your payday, Fil.