Four Red Wings. One Duck. Puck in net. Photo by the Register's Kevin Sullivan, who had a good night with the camera in Anaheim.
The young, fast and relentless Ducks are going to the Stanley Cup final round for the second time. They have the stitches, bruises, black eyes and broken bones to show for the twelve wins it took to get this far in the playoffs. For hockey fans, the last two games of the Western Conference series that ended tonight have been as intense as we could want. I wasn't in Anaheim, but I bet many of the 17,380 fans who were will call tonight the most fun they have ever had at a sports event.
On the ice, the league tried to give Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer a big piece of hardware called the Campbell Trophy for the Ducks winning the conference title. He wouldn't touch it and I'm not sure he even looked at it. They play to hoist the Stanley Cup, and that takes four more wins. Game 1 is against the Ottawa Senators Monday in Anaheim.
The Ducks aren't the only reason local puck fans wear a smile on their faces these days. Rich Hammond of the Daily News has been blogging a lengthy conversation with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi that is the most detailed and specific inside analysis of the team's players and prospects that many of us ever remember seeing in print.
Add playoffs: Round of applause for Chris Chelios, who put in 29 shifts for the Red Wings, blocked five Anaheim shots with his body and played a solid, physical 19:19. The dude is 45 years old and still a factor.