The Western Conference Semifinals Are Set

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With the Blackhawks and the Ducks winning last night, the Western Conference Semifinal matchups have been determined:

(2) Detroit vs. (8) Anaheim

(3) Vancouver vs. (4) Chicago

These matchups are certain to keep the fireworks going in this year's playoffs.

 

Detroit vs. Anaheim

The last time that these two teams met in the playoffs was the 2007 Western Conference Finals.  The Ducks took that series 4-2 on route to their Stanley Cup Championship.  The all-time series is split at two a piece with Detroit taking the first two and Anaheim taking the last two. Detroit holds the edge on total games won, 10-8. 

In terms of the players, these two teams match up very well together.  Both are physical teams that love to hit and fight.  Detroit is going to be the well rested team after having six to seven days off after their sweep of Columbus.  What Columbus lacked in experience and offense, the Ducks are going to be able to match. 

For Anaheim, their strong play has been led by goaltender Jonas Hiller.  Hiller's .957 SV% is second among goaltenders who have played at least 4 games.  The Ducks are going to need another good goaltending performance against a team who allowed the third least amount of goals in the first round.

Vancouver vs. Chicago

The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was the 1995 conference semi finals.  In that series the Blackhawks swept the Canucks and outscored the Canucks 16-9.  That was 13 years ago though and these two teams are completely different.

Vancouver's strength heading into this series has to be the play of Roberto Luongo.  Luongo dominated a good Blues team and consequently swept them out of the first round.  Luongo posted a 1.15 GAA and .962 SV% against the Blues, by far the most dominating goalie in the playoffs.

Chicago's strength is scoring and youth.  The Blackhawks have scored the most goals at this point in the playoffs with 21.  For a team that totes along a bunch of players that had never played in the playoffs, they were able to handle the pressure well and closed out the Flames in spectacular fashion.  For the Hawks to have any sort of say in this series, they need to find a way to beat Luongo.

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