(2) Detroit vs Chicago (4)
The fact that the Wings only narrowly got by Anaheim might be of concern to some people, given that Chicago is probably a better team than the Ducks.
On the other hand, the Wings-Ducks series was only really close results wise. I'm not suggesting that the Ducks are a weak team or that they played poorly -- that's not my position. Nonetheless, it was clear to me -- both from watching that series and from looking at the underlying numbers -- that one team was easily better than the other. And the fact that the series went seven games and was decided by a mere goal doesn't change that fact.
In the other Western semi-final, it seemed that the Blackhawks were the slightly better team. While the Canucks had the better special teams, Chicago was better at controlling the play at even strength. Prior to the series, some appeared to pick Vancouver on the basis of the Luongo factor. Although it was reasonable to expect Vancouver to have some advantage in goaltending going into the series, that advantage never really materialized. Perhaps that was the difference.
There isn't really too much that can be said about this series. Chicago is a strong team that can probably compete -- at least broadly speaking -- with the Red Wings at even strength. However, I think that the Wings powerplay might be the difference maker here, and if the Hawks fail to play disciplined, this series might be over quickly.
Wings in 6.
I'll do the Pens-Canes series tomorrow.