Ducks vs. Predators: 5 big questions about Western Conference Final

Earlier today we gave you the breakdown of the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators and predicted who will win. It’s time to look at five big questions facing the two teams in the Western Conference Final.

1– Who wins the battle of Ryan versus the Ryans?

The Nashville Predators brought in Ryan Johansen for situations just like the one they’re about to face. The Anaheim Ducks have a two-headed snarling, half-bald monster at center with Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. A duo Johansen became acquainted with last post-season.

In the three meetings between the two during the regular season, match-intensive coach Randy Carlyle opted to roll out the Kesler line whenever Johansen hit the ice. Since Kesler is the pre-eminent shut-down center for Anaheim, it’s not a stretch to assume Carlyle will put Kesler on the ice against Johansen whenever possible.

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Ducks vs. Oilers: 8 keys to victory in Stanley Cup Playoff series

(Ed. Note: Welcome to Round 2 coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where we flip the format and get right to the point with eight keys to each series. Enjoy!)

The last time the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was the 2006 Western Conference Finals. Back then, the Ducks were still ‘Mighty’ and Chris Pronger was still an Oiler. Edmonton beat Anaheim in five games to move on to the Stanley Cup Final.

Just over a decade later, the teams meet again, this time battling the opportunity to play in the Western Conference final.

The Ducks came into the playoffs as the Pacific Division champs, edging the Oilers for the title by two points. Anaheim quickly dispatched of the Calgary Flames by a sweep in the first round.

The Oilers path was a little tougher. Edmonton ran into a battered, yet experienced San Jose Sharks team. The two teams split the first four games. In Game 5, the Oilers suffered a 7-0 shellacking at the hands of the Sharks. Remarkably, the team bounced back to take the next two games and win the series.

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Ducks vs. Flames: Puck Daddy’s 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview

The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have arrived, so have Puck Daddy’s preview of all playoff series. Enjoy!

In the final week of the regular season, the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames met for a home-and-home series. Anaheim swept the two games; however, they lost one of the biggest pieces in their lineup in the second game. Cam Fowler and Mark Giordano connected knee-to-knee on the ice. Fowler, the Ducks’ leading scorer on defense, was diagnosed with a knee sprain that has him out of the lineup from two to six weeks. The game finished with the teams fighting every ten seconds (at least it felt that way).

Giordano was not subject to supplemental discipline on the play, and Ducks GM Bob Murray was less than thrilled. Murray called the play ‘dirty’ and singled out Giordano as a player that takes out guys knees. To which the Flames GM Brad Treliving responded by stating, “Those are asinine comments.” Treliving also added, “You’re either intoxicated or you’re trying to influence officials.”

(BARN FIGHT PART 2, ANYONE?! Yeah, it’s not the Oilers, but it’s the same province.)

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Penguins vs. Blue Jackets: Puck Daddy’s 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview

The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have arrived, so have Puck Daddy’s preview of all playoff series. Enjoy!

The Pittsburgh Penguins (50-21-11, 111 points) entered the 2016-17 season as the defending Stanley Cup Champion, minus their top goaltender and superstar forward. Matt Murray broke his hand in the World Cup of Hockey. Sidney Crosby experienced another concussion everyone swears didn’t happen during the World Cup.

The team was pretty much fine without them. Crosby returned after missing six games. He finished the season collecting his second ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy with 44 goals. Crosby averaged better than a point a game with 89 points in 75 games.

As for Murray, he made his first start in the tenth game of the season. He quieted those who doubted the consistency of his Stanley Cup performance by amassing a 32-10-4 record. As expected, Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury (18-10-7) split time in net with Murray getting 47 starts to Fleury’s 34.

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All Central Division in Round 1: Blues vs. Wild, Predators vs. Blackhawks

As luck would have it, teams in the Central Division find themselves matching up against each other in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Let’s tackle the most compelling narrative first.

It’s Mike Yeo’s St. Louis Blues against Mike Yeo’s former team the Minnesota Wild.

“I’m sure it’s going to turn into quite a story, said Yeo in his post-game press conference on Saturday. “It’s funny, in sports these types of stories have a way of coming around.”

About a 14 months ago, Yeo was axed by the Wild. He was later hired as an assistant to the regional manager under Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis before taking over for Hitch when he was given the boot.

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Beauts seek revenge vs. Pride in 2017 Isobel Cup Final

WHO: No. 1 Boston Pride vs. No. 3 Buffalo Beauts

WHAT: Isobel Cup Final – winner take all

WHERE: Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell

WHEN: TODAY! Sunday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m. EST

HOW TO WATCH: ABCNews.com/Live or the ABC News app

The last four days have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for the members of the US Women’s National team.

While juggling the negotiations with USA Hockey and the media appearances to discuss their cause, a majority of the players had to also finish their professional hockey season in the NWHL.

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Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better beards?

Leading up to Monday’s Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice.

Who has the better beards in the Stanley Cup Final? This video says it all.

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There is no question that Joe Thornton and Brent Burns win the beard contest hands down. No one on the Penguins comes remotely close to those two beauties. Plus, they’ve been growing their beards for a majority of the season. It’s just not fair.

For the sake of this post, we have to look at some of the other Penguins and Sharks in a head to head battle to see whose facial hair reigns supreme.

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Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better aesthetics?

Leading up to Monday’s Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice.

ANTHEM SINGER

The San Jose Sharks don’t have a dedicated anthem singer. Instead, they rotate through local singers and occasionally the notable guest singer.

What makes the Sharks anthem unique is the crowd involvement. Let us stop you before you start thinking of the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans cheering during the anthem. This is much less, well, polite?

After the announcer asking the fans to rise and remove their hats for the singing of the anthem, the Sharks’ homecrowd yells, “HEY [visiting team]! YOU SUCK!” Here’s an example from the first round of this year’s playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings:

Anthem singers not accustomed to this local tradition have known to be thrown off by the crowd. Especially when the ‘YOU SUCK’ part coincides with the singer’s name.

As for the Penguins, singer (and Dave Coulier lookalike) Jeff Jimerson has been belting out the anthem for the Pittsburgh faithful since the 1990-91 season.

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Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better celebrity fans?

Leading up to Monday’s Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice.

Celebrity sports fans are like super delegates in a presidential election. They don’t have to show up for anything but the main event, and people will still go nuts over them.

Everybody wants at least one because they are way more important than the people who paid for admission and aren’t fawned over by the team they love.

The celebrity fan game is a big part of the Stanley Cup Final. It can mean the difference between a one minute highlight package on Sportscenter (in the US) or an one minute and fifteen second highlight package with a celebrity. The bigger the star, the higher up the highlight in the States.

Check out some of the fans and see who we think has the advantage in the celeb market.

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Eastern Conference Final Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning attempt to win their second straight Eastern Conference title against the Pittsburgh Penguins, seeking their first conference crown since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. Who takes it? Let’s find out, shall we?

How’d They Get Here?

The prevailing narrative appears to be the Tampa Bay Lightning have had the “easier” road to the Eastern Conference Final. Tampa’s first and second round series against the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders both ended in five games.

Pittsburgh dispatched of the New York Rangers in five games. The series against the Washington Capitals was bruising and emotional, lasting six games. With the exception of Game 5, all games were decided by a single goal, and three of those came in overtime.

Their Last Playoff Meeting

Back in 2010-11, the No. 4 Lightning and No. 5 Penguins faced off in the first round. The Penguins were without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin due to injuries and blew a 3-1 series lead. The Lightning were led by crusty veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson to a 1-0 victory in Game 7.

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