Reasons they might not- Bruce Boudreau
Someone that hasn’t followed the Duck’s coach Bruce Boudreau as closely may not know it, but Boudreau is a winner through and through. Going back to his playing days, the man has won championships at every level he’s played or coached at, except the NHL. This seems to make his winning of a Stanley Cup more of an inevitability, and it’s not because he’s lucky, it’s because he’s so darn good. Yes this is the same Bruce Boudreau that it seems can’t have a playoff series last less than seven games, going back to his time with the Washington Capitals. Detroit took advantage of this last year when they eliminated the Ducks in the first round of the playoffs in seven games. However, this is something that has stuck with Boudreau, and even if the Wings don’t consider the Ducks to be their big rivals, the Ducks don’t have any team outside the state of California they gear up to pay against more than the Red Wings.
Boudreau had an interesting quote from a post-game recap on the Red Wing’s website from December. After defeating the Red Wings on home ice 5-2, Boudreau is almost writing it off as a fluke:
“We took advantage of a team that was hurting,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Listen, we beat Detroit 5-2 in the first game we played them last year, too. How’d it end up? It’s just … that was no way the Detroit Red Wings that you’re going to see in January.”
Boudreau knows exactly what he’s getting into tonight and he’s not taking any chances. That playoff loss from last year stings him. He knows his fanbase wants to see this win more than anything right now, I wouldn’t expect him to take too many risks or pull and punches tonight.
Reasons they might- Anaheim Goaltending
One need not look very far to find any number of articles singing praises of the Swiss netminder Jonas Hiller, and for good reason too. Hiller has been incredibly solid in the backend this year. His .912 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average aren’t bringing about Vezina Trophy nominations, but he’s 3rd in the league in a very important category- wins. So why is this all a reason Detroit might win tonight? Well there are reasons to believe Hiller isn’t starting tonight, although nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
On Friday, the Ducks sent back-up netminder Frederick Andersen down to their AHL affiliate in Norfolk, and called up the American hero from the 2012 World Junior Championship John Gibson. Gibson was solid through his junior career, but is inexperienced at the pro level. He’s been getting his fair share of starts with the Norfolk Admirals this year, and while his numbers aren’t terrible and his save percentage is impressive, he doesn’t look like he’s ready to take over a NHL team any time soon. So why the call up? Seems a bit silly to bring a guy from Virginia to California if he isn’t about to make his NHL debut, wouldn’t you say? Especially against a team that’s playing its own third-string goalie tonight. Nothing is written in stone yet but if he ends up getting the start, consider it one more thing going in the Red Wings’ favor.