The Ducks pushed long and hard to reach the Western Conference finals, and now one series victory away from the Stanley Cup Final they face a foe of imposing playoff pedigree.
Here come the Chicago Blackhawks, with Game 1 in Anaheim expected to be scheduled for later this week.
The Blackhawks will be appearing in their third consecutive conference final — eliminating Nashville and sweeping Minnesota to advance this time — and have won the Stanley Cup twice in the last five seasons.
Deep, fast and familiar with what it takes to endure such matchups, Chicago nearly reached the Stanley Cup Final last season but lost Game 7 of the conference finals in overtime to the eventual champion Kings. Chicago has beaten the Ducks in two of three meetings this season.
Ducks offense vs. Blackhawks defense
The Ducks, paced by NHL postseason points leader Corey Perry (15 points), lead the NHL in playoff scoring average (3.89 goals) and have routed the opposition, 16-3, in third-period play. Forward Matt Beleskey scored a goal in all five Calgary games. Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith is a league-best plus-10 and, along with Montreal, the Blackhawks allowed the fewest goals during the regular season.
Ducks defense vs. Blackhawks offense
The Ducks are tied for second with two goals against per game in the playoffs. Chicago forward Patrick Kane has returned from a regular-season injury to be a force, with seven goals and 13 points, and center Jonathan Toews has four goals and 11 points.
The Ducks' Frederik Andersen has shined in the postseason, especially amid third-period pressure, when he's allowed only three goals. Chicago's Corey Crawford responded to a benching in the Nashville series by winning all four Minnesota games, including one shutout. He beat the Ducks on Nov. 28 and Jan. 30 in Anaheim.
The Ducks' postseason power-play success (31%) is better than any team's, and they're fifth in penalty killing after ranking 15th during the regular season. Chicago is fifth in the power play after ranking 20th in the regular season, and its penalty killing has slumped to 72% following a regular-season top-10 showing (83.4%).
While both teams are impressive at home — the Ducks were 26-12-3 in the regular season and 5-0 in the postseason — each has won at the opposing building this season. The Blackhawks were 24-12-5 during the regular season at the United Center, but were shut out by John Gibson there on Oct. 28.