Feb 5, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wingMarian Hossa
(81) battles for the puck with Anaheim Ducks defensemanBen Lovejoy
(6) during the first period at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The Anaheim Ducks have been a top contender in the Western Conference for the past few seasons, and the games between the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks usually draw the best out of both teams. In two meetings last season, the Blackhawks earned 3 out of four points against the Ducks – one in a 3-2 shootout loss in Chicago, and two in a 2-0 shutout win in Anaheim.
The Ducks ended the season as the top team in the West and defeated the Dallas Stars in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs. They faced the LA Kings in an entertaining second round series that ended in a 6-2 Game 7 loss for Anaheim, and sent the Kings to the Western Conference Final against the Blackhawks.
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The Ducks haven’t been one of the silent teams when it comes to the offseason. They’ve shown confidence in their team structure, like many Western Conference teams, but it’s clear that they’re not happy with the way their season ended. Head coach Bruce Boudreau will be with the Ducks for at least two more seasons thanks to a contract extension. Forward Teemu Selanne is sticking to his decision to retire after last season, and the Ducks are planning on retiring his jersey in January to honor the long-time Ducks player.
Then to shake things up, Anaheim traded forward Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for center Ryan Kesler. That move both relieved and annoyed Blackhawks fans because it dispelled the rumor of Kesler coming to Chicago, but also moved a Canuck to yet another Western Conference team. The addition of Kesler along with Ryan Getzlaf does give the Ducks two top centers that will be hard to beat for any team.
The Blackhawks will face the Ducks twice next season, in October and November. The Blackhawks are basically the same team coming back, but the Ducks have made a few changes that may take a while to click. How do you think the season series will go between Chicago and Anaheim next season?