2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Series K – Detroit Red Wings (2) vs. Anaheim Ducks (8)
Series L – Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (4)
Detroit Red Wings (2) vs. Anaheim Ducks (8)
Playoff History: The Red Wings and Ducks will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth time since 1997; the only clubs who have met more often in that span are the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers (six times).
In 1997, the Red Wings eliminated Anaheim in the Conference Semifinals en route to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. Three of the four games went to overtime, including double- and triple-OT contests.
In 1999, the Red Wings swept Anaheim in decisive fashion, outscoring the Ducks 17-6.
In 2003, the seventh-seeded Ducks shocked the second-seeded Red Wings in the Conference Quarterfinals with a four-game sweep. Two games were decided in overtime, including a triple-OT thriller in Game 1.
In 2007, the Ducks ousted the Red Wings in six games in the Western Conference Final en route to their first Stanley Cup.
Season Series: The Ducks captured the first 2008-09 meeting in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win 5-4 in overtime at Honda Center on Oct. 29. Center Ryan Getzlaf assisted on all five Anaheim goals. The Red Wings took the next three games of the series, the most recent being a 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 20.
First-Round Recap: The Ducks defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games, becoming the eighth #8 seed to eliminate a #1 seed since the Conference-based playoff format was introduced in 1994. The Ducks also are the fifth team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to eliminate the regular-season points leader in the first round. The Ryan Getzlaf–Corey Perry–Bobby Ryan line posted 16 points (nine goals, seven assists), while defensemen Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Ryan Whitney combined for 2-11–13.
The Red Wings posted a four-game sweep over Columbus in the opening round, outscoring the Blue Jackets 18-7. The Red Wings were the only club that did not trail throughout its opening-round series. Forward Johan Franzen led the club in scoring with 2-4–6.
Franzen is Mr. Clutch: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has scored a game-winning goal in each of his past six playoff series and in seven of his past eight since the start of the 2007 post-season.
Pronger Knows Detroit: Ducks D Chris Pronger will take on the Red Wings for the seventh time in his career. He faced Detroit with the St. Louis Blues in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002, with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 and with the Ducks in 2007. Nearly one quarter of his NHL postseason games (34 of 140, 24%) have been against the Red Wings.
Good Memories Of The Joe: Ducks D Scott Niedermayer has played five career playoff games at Joe Louis Arena and is 4-1 in those games. He has figured prominently in three of those wins:
* On June 20, 1995, Niedermayer’s highlight-reel goal in the third period helped the New Jersey Devils defeat the Red Wings 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final en route to a four-game sweep.
* On May 13, 2007, Niedermayer scored the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
* On May 20, 2007, Niedermayer scored the game-tying goal with 48 seconds left in the third period of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final with the series tied 2-2. Teemu Selanne scored in overtime, giving the Ducks a 2-1 win.
In addition, Ducks G Jean-Sebastien Giguere made a sensational playoff debut at Joe Louis Arena on April 10, 2003 in Game 1 of the Detroit-Anaheim Conference Quarterfinal, setting a record for most saves by a goaltender in his first postseason game (63) as the Ducks upset the Red Wings in triple overtime.
Special Teams: The Red Wings had the top-ranked power play in the NHL during the regular season (25.5%) and its success continued in the first round of the playoffs against Columbus, connecting at 31.8% (seven for 22). The Ducks, meanwhile, had the hottest power play in the League down the stretch (20 for 48, 41.7% in their last 13 games) and played a key role in their first-round upset of San Jose (five for 23, 21.7%).
Club Connections: Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock made his NHL head coaching debut with the Ducks in 2002-03. In his rookie season behind the bench, the Ducks swept the highly-favored Red Wings in a first-round upset en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final berth.
Two Ducks players remain from Babcock’s last season with the club in 2003-04: forward Rob Niedermayer and goaltender J.S. Giguere.
Goaltending Matchup: Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood, 36, has won three Stanley Cups, is tied for 10th place on the all-time regular-season victories list with 389 and tied for 11th on the career playoff wins list with 63. He allowed just seven goals in Detroit’s four-game sweep over Columbus in the Conference Quarter-Finals. The Ducks’ Jonas Hiller, 27, made a spectacular Stanley Cup Playoff debut in the first-round series win over San Jose, posting a 4-2 record with a 1.64 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and two shutouts.
Norris Chorus: The Red Wings and Ducks feature four previous winners of the Norris Trophy, awarded to the League’s top defenseman. The Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom is a six-time winner and is nominated this year, while Chris Chelios is a three-time winner (Montreal, 1989; Chicago, 1993 and 1996). The Ducks boast Scott Niedermayer, who captured the award in 2004 with New Jersey, and Chris Pronger, who took home the hardware in 2000 with St. Louis.
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle also won the award, with Pittsburgh in 1981.
Detroit Red Wings
NHL Playoff Appearance: 57th (18th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 11 (1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 63-45
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 289-254-1
The Red Wings will be attempting to repeat as Stanley Cup champions for the first time in more than a decade. They were the last club to accomplish the feat, winning back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. Five of the players who competed for both champions are on the Red Wings’ active roster (Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby and Chris Osgood).
The Detroit Red Wings set an NHL record by posting their ninth consecutive 100-point season with a 4-0 victory at Columbus Mar. 15, passing the Montreal Canadiens’ eight-season streak from 1974-75 through 1981-82. The Red Wings also clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 18th consecutive season — the longest active streak of qualifying for the postseason among the major pro sports — and captured the Central Division title for the eighth consecutive season.
The Red Wings had three defensemen in the top 11 in NHL defense scoring – Nicklas Lidstrom (third, 16-43–59), Brian Rafalski (fifth, 10-49–59), and Niklas Kronwall (11th, 6-45–51). Lidstrom has recorded 997 career regular-season points, just shy of becoming just the eighth defenseman in League history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, and earned his 10th selection as a Norris Trophy finalist in the past 11 seasons.
C Pavel Datsyuk finished fourth in the NHL scoring race with 97 points (32 goals, 65 assists), equaling his career high set in 2007-08. He led the club in scoring for a fourth consecutive season, surpassing the three-year runs of franchise greats Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. Datsyuk also excelled at the defensive end, ranking third among NHL players in plus-minus with a +34 rating. Voted a finalist for the Hart, Lady Byng and Frank Selke Trophies, Datsyuk could become the first player ever to sweep these awards in the same season.
The Red Wings were counting on big production from RW Marian Hossa when they signed him as an unrestricted free agent last summer and he responded, notching the third 40-goal season of his NHL career. Hossa, who also tallied 40-goal seasons with the Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers, is just the eighth player in NHL history to do with three different clubs. Hossa will look to repeat the form of his 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he ranked third in NHL scoring with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
LW Henrik Zetterberg tallied his fourth consecutive 30-goal season, finishing second on the Red Wings in scoring (31-42–73). He enters the post-season as the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He finished at or near the top of several playoff categories in 2008, including points (1st, 27), goals (T-1st, 13), plus-minus (T-1st, +16, shots (1st, 116), game-winning goals (2nd, four) and assists (T-3rd, 14).
LW Johan Franzen continued his knack for clutch scoring this season, sharing the Red Wings lead in game-winning goals with Marian Hossa (eight). Last season, Franzen franchise records for most game-winners in a calendar month (six in March 2008) and in a single playoff year (five). “The Mule” ranked second on the Red Wings in goals this season with a career-high 34.
Chris Osgood and Ty Conklin are one of three NHL club goaltending tandems who each made at least 40 appearances this season, joining Jean-Sebastien Giguere/Jonas Hiller (Anaheim) and Cristobal Huet/Nikolai Khabibulin (Chicago). Conklin set career highs in wins (25-11-2) and shutouts (six), while Osgood rose to a tie for 10th on the all-time victories list (389) and second on the Red Wings’ all-time list (305).
Oct. 11: It didn’t long for the Red Wings’ Johan Franzen to resume his clutch goal-scoring from the Stanley Cup-winning 2007-08 season. Franzen tallied twice in the third period to give the Red Wings a 3-2 comeback victory at Ottawa in the club’s second game of the season. Franzen set a franchise record with 13 postseason goals in 2008 after scoring 15 times in Detroit’s final 16 regular-season games.
Dec. 13: Johan Franzen scored the game-tying goal with 19.9 seconds remaining in regulation and Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler tallied in the shootout as the Red Wings escaped with a 5-4 victory at Phoenix. The game also marked the return of Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios for his 25th NHL season. Chelios had missed Detroit’s first 28 games due to injury.
Jan. 1: Playing in front of 40,818 fans outdoors at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and the largest regular-season television audience in nearly 13 years, the Red Wings posted a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009 Winter Classic. Trailing 3-1 after the first period, the Red Wings scored five consecutive goals, highlighted by strikes by defensemen Brian Rafalski and Brett Lebda 17 seconds apart in the third period.
Feb. 4: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom celebrated his 1,300th career regular-season game in style, scoring a power-play goal with 39 seconds remaining in the third period to give Detroit a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena. The goal negated a third-period Phoenix comeback in which the club rebounded from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game with five minutes to play.
Feb. 25: Henrik Zetterberg scored twice, including a highlight-reel shorthanded effort, as the Red Wings defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 and earned a split of their season series. The home club won each time in the four contests between the Western Conference leaders.
NHL Playoff Appearance: 7th (fourth consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (2007)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 11-5
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 50-35
Feb. 4: Acquired RW Mike Brown from Vancouver for D Nathan McIver.
Feb. 26: Acquired D Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh for LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi.
Mar. 4: Acquired C Petteri Nokelainen from Boston for D Steve Montador.
Mar. 4: Acquired D James Wisniewski and C Petri Kontiola from Chicago for C Samuel Pahlsson, D Logan Stephenson and a conditional pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Mar. 4: Acquired C Erik Christensen from Atlanta for C Eric O’Dell.
The Ducks are peaking at the right time, having sewn up their fourth consecutive trip to the post-season by going 10-2-1 down the stretch. Mired in 12th place in the Western Conference after 69 games (32-31-6), their run vaulted them into the Western Conference’s top eight. They tied a franchise record with seven consecutive road victories from Mar. 3 to Apr. 4 and have been red-hot on the power play, going 20 for 48 (41.7%) in their last 13 games.
C Ryan Getzlaf set the Ducks’ single-season assist record and tied for third in the NHL with 66. He ranked seventh in the League in points with 25-66–91, becoming just the third player in franchise history to reach the 90-point mark. Over the past eight games, the Getzlaf-Bobby Ryan-Corey Perry line has earned 17-21–38 points. Getzlaf has 14 points in span (2-12–14), followed by Perry (8-5–13) and Ryan (7-4–11).
Scott Niedermayer again ranked among NHL defensemen leaders in several categories, including average ice time per game (third, 26:55), scoring (fourth, 14-45-59) and assists (T-third, 45). Niedermayer notched his 46th goal as a Duck Mar. 8 vs. Minnesota, surpassing Oleg Tverdovsky for the all-time franchise lead in goals by a defenseman.
RW Teemu Selanne became the Ducks’ all-time games played leader Jan. 31 at Colorado with his 617th appearance and set the club’s all-time assists mark Nov. 7 vs. Dallas (370). He scored his 1,200th career point with an overtime goal Mar. 18 vs. Nashville, becoming the 45th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. The Helsinki, Finland native is only the sixth player born outside North America to do so.
RW Bobby Ryan set single-season franchise records for goals and points by a rookie, tallying 31-26–57 in 64 games. Ryan led all NHL rookies in goals and points despite joining the Ducks six weeks into the season when he was recalled from the AHL Nov. 15. He is the first NHL rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Evgeni Malkin had 33 in 2006-07.
G Jonas Hiller backstopped the Ducks during their late-season surge. He tied a franchise record by recording a seven-game winning streak from Mar. 19 to Apr. 4, posting a 2.19 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in that span. Hiller finished the season seventh among NHL goaltenders in both goals-against average (2.39) and save percentage (.919).
Oct. 17: After starting the season with four consecutive losses, the Ducks avoided the worst start in franchise history by defeating the San Jose Sharks 4-0 behind a vintage goaltending performance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 38 saves. The Ducks handed the Sharks one of just three regulation losses they suffered in the first 31 games of the season and marked the start of a 9-1-1 Ducks’ run that put the club among the Western Conference leaders.
Oct. 29: The Ducks kept rolling after a 4-0 Eastern time zone road trip by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf tallied assists on all five Anaheim goals, becoming the first player to assist on each of his team’s five goals in a winning effort since Toronto’s Doug Gilmour in January, 1997. Teemu Selanne recorded the 21st hat trick of his career and Francois Beauchemin scored at 1:29 of the extra period.
Mar. 11: Defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored an overtime goal with the teams playing three-on-three for the second time in a month, giving the Ducks a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Niedermayer had victimized the Calgary Flames with a three-on-three tally in a 3-2 win at Anaheim Feb. 11. The Ducks captain registered his 12th career regular-season overtime goal, the most among defensemen since overtime was re-instituted in 1983-84.
Apr. 2: In an unpredictable and wide-open game that mirrored the unpredictable and wide-open Western Conference playoff race, the Ducks overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to earn a 7-6 shootout victory at Vancouver. The win was the Ducks’ eighth in their past nine games and moved them up to seventh place in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. The club had been in 13th place on March 18 before embarking on their late-season run.
Apr. 10: The Ducks clinched a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars in Anaheim’s final home game of the season. Goaltender Jonas Hiller made 42 saves and Teemu Selanne notched the decisive shootout goal for the winners, who also received a huge boost with the return from injury of D Francois Beauchemin. Traditionally among the League leaders in ice time, Beauchemin missed 62 games with a knee injury.
Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (4)
Playoff History: The Canucks and Blackhawks have met twice before in the playoffs, most recently in a 1995 second-round series won by the Blackhawks in a four-game sweep. The first meeting, a 1982 Conference Final won by the Canucks in five games, will forever be remembered as the series that spawned ‘Towel Power’ in Vancouver. During the second period of Game 2 at Chicago, Canucks head coach Roger Neilson raised a hockey stick covered with a white towel in mock surrender to protest the officiating and was ejected from the game. Canucks fans supported their coach by waving white towels at subsequent home games and a tradition was born.
Dreaming of the Conference Finals: The Canucks are vying for their first Conference Finals appearance since 1994, while the Blackhawks look to advance to the final four for the first time since 1995.
Season Series: The Canucks and Blackhawks split the four-game season series, each winning one game at home and on the road. Goaltender Cristobal Huet won both his starts for the Blackhawks, while teammate Nikolai Khabibulin was winless in two appearances. Roberto Luongo registered both victories for the Canucks. The clubs’ most recent meeting, a 4-0 Canucks win at United Center on March 29, was a penalty-filled affair with 98 total minutes assessed.
First-Round Recap: The Canucks recorded the first four-game sweep in franchise history in defeating the St. Louis Blues. Three of the four wins were by one goal. Twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for nine points and a +8 rating. Linemate Alex Burrows tallied three times, including the series-clinching overtime winner, and Roberto Luongo led all goaltenders in the first round with a 1.15 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.
The Blackhawks posted their first playoff series win since 1996 by upending the Calgary Flames in six games. Forward Martin Havlat lifted the team in the pivotal opening game by scoring the game-tying goal late in the third period and adding the winner just 12 seconds into overtime — the third-fastest overtime goal in NHL playoff history. Calder Trophy finalist Kris Versteeg led the Blackhawks in scoring (2-5–7). After splitting goaltender duties for most of the season with Cristobal Huet, Nikolai Khabibulin started all six games and posted a 4-2 record with a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
Different Season Trajectories: Losers of eight straight in January and left for finished by most, the Canucks rallied to go 23-7-2 over their final 32 games and not only make the playoffs but erase the Calgary lead in the Northwest Division that appeared insurmountable. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, were 19 games over .500 by Feb. 21 (34-15-8) and held the Western Conference’s #4 seed for all but four days through the end of the season.
B.C. Connections in Chicago: Four players on the Blackhawks’ roster — defenseman Brent Seabrook (Richmond) and forwards Troy Brouwer (Vancouver), Colin Fraser (Surrey) and Andrew Ladd (Maple Ridge) — were born in British Columbia. In addition, Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon was the Canucks’ first-ever draft pick, in 1970. Tallon cracked the Canucks’ lineup for their inaugural season of 1970-71 and represented the club at the NHL All-Star Game in each of the two following seasons before being traded to the Blackhawks in May, 1973.
Sunshine State Reunion for Khabibulin, Luongo: Goaltenders Nikolai Khabibulin of the Chicago Blackhawks and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks were the number one goaltenders for the Southeast Division and intrastate rival Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, respectively, from 2001-02 through 2003-04. In their 12 games facing each other over that three-year span, Khabibulin was 6-3-3 with a 2.53 GAA and .913 save percentage while Luongo was 3-6-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Khabibulin-Luongo, Part II: What else do these goaltenders have in common? Try outstanding career playoff statistics. Khabibulin enters the series with a 2.29 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 63 post-season appearances (35-27), while Luongo counters with a 1.63 GAA and .946 save percentage in 16 games (9-7).
NHL Playoff Appearance: 22nd (first since 2007)
Stanley Cups: none
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 12-21
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 75-96
Oct. 6: Acquired D Shane O’Brien and RW Michel Ouellet from Tampa Bay for D Lukas Krajicek and LW Juraj Simek.
Dec. 18: Signed free agent C Mats Sundin.
Dec. 30: Acquired G Jason LaBarbera from Los Angeles for Vancouver’s 7th-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Feb. 27: Claimed D Ossi Vaananen on waivers from Philadelphia.
The Canucks were among the NHL’s hottest clubs over the second half of the season, posting a 23-7-2 record after Feb. 1. They set a franchise record with 11 consecutive home wins from Feb. 3 to Mar. 19 and have suffered only one regulation loss at home since Jan. 30th (13-1-2).
Twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin finished 1-2 in team scoring for the third consecutive season in 2008-09, each tallying 82 points (Daniel 31-51–82, Henrik 22-60–82). Henrik ranked eighth in the League in assists. In March they both surpassed the previous franchise high for points in a calendar month, combining for 37; Henrik recorded 7-12–19, Daniel had 5-13–18. The Canucks are 178-58-25 when the Sedins each record a point.
One of the NHL’s most sought-after free agents in recent years, C Mats Sundin signed with the Canucks on Dec. 18. He made his debut with the club Jan. 7 and went on to record 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 41 games. Sundin ranks among the NHL’s top 25 all-time in goals (T-20th, 564) and points (25th, 1,349).
G Roberto Luongo missed eight weeks from mid-November to mid-January with a groin injury but still managed to collect 33 wins and nine shutouts, the latter ranking second in the League. The Canucks captain set a career shutout sequence mark by going 242:36 without allowing a goal from Nov. 2-12. The streak was the League’s longest since Brian Boucher set the modern NHL record (332:01) in the 2003-04 season.
This year marks Luongo’s second career playoff appearance. On Apr. 11, 2007 he made among the most spectacular post-season debuts in NHL history by stopping 72 of an NHL-record 76 shots in a 5-4 win over Dallas that was decided the fourth overtime period. Luongo faced the most shots in an NHL game since the League started recording the statistic in 1956. He ended the 2007 playoffs with a 1.77 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in 12 games.
D Mattias Ohlund set the franchise career scoring record for defensemen Mar. 15 against Colorado with his 322nd point, passing Jyrki Lumme. Ohlund has played his entire 11-year NHL career in Vancouver and is the second-longest tenured blueliner in franchise history with 770 appearances, trailing Harold Snepsts (781).
LW Alex Burrows‘ high-energy game has made him a fan favorite at GM Place. Playing alongside the Sedins on Vancouver’s top line, Burrows scored 15 goals in a 21-game stretch from Feb. 19 to Apr. 4. He also was a threat on the penalty kill with four shorthanded goals, tied for fourth in the League.
Oct. 31: In a highly unusual way for Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo to celebrate his 500th career game, the Canucks outscored the Anaheim Ducks 7-6 in a game that was decided in the 13th shootout round. The Canucks led 5-2 and 6-5 before Anaheim’s Corey Perry tallied his fifth point of the game to tie the score with less than a minute to play in regulation. Luongo blocked 12 of 13 shootout attempts to post the win.
Feb. 3: The Canucks ended an eight-game winless streak (0-5-3) and nine-game skid on home ice (0-6-3) with a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Canucks forward Alex Burrows scored the game-winning goal on a shorthanded breakaway with 1:22 remaining to end the Canucks’ slide. Goaltender Roberto Luongo posted his first win in six tries since returning from a groin injury. The win marked the start of a franchise-record 11-game home winning streak.
Feb. 17: The Canucks earned a dramatic late win against division rival Calgary, defeating the Flames 4-3 in a shootout at Pengrowth Saddledome. Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa tied game at 19:09 of the third period with goaltender Roberto Luongo on the bench for an extra attacker and Pavol Demitra tallied the only shootout goal for the win. Luongo and Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff combined for 78 saves.
Jan. 7: Signed as a free agent in late December, center Mats Sundin made his long-anticipated Canucks debut in a 4-2 victory at Vancouver. Sundin, his playing first his first game in nine months, did not record a point or shot in 15 minutes of ice time but the Canucks were sparked by two goals in 12 seconds from Steve Bernier late the second period.
Feb. 21: In an ending suitable for a Hollywood script, Mats Sundin scored the game-winning shootout goal in an emotional homecoming to Toronto, where over 13 seasons he had forged among the greatest careers in Maple Leafs history. After being selected First Star in the Canucks’ 3-2 victory, Sundin returned to the ice amid a thunderous ovation from the fans at Air Canada Centre.
NHL Playoff Appearance: 54th (first since 2002)
Stanley Cups: 3 (1934, 1938, 1961)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 41-50
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 192-220-5
Mar. 4: Acquired C Samuel Pahlsson, D Logan Stephenson and a conditional pick in the 2009 Entry Draft from Anaheim for D James Wisniewski and C Petri Kontiola.
Chicago’s 46 wins and 104 points are the team’s most since 1992-93 (47 wins, 106 points). The team reached the 100-point mark for the first time since 1992-93 and improved by 16 points from a year ago when their 88-point total left them three points shy of a playoff berth.
The Blackhawks are the League’s only team to improve on its record in each of the past four seasons — 59 points in 2003-04; 65 points in 2005-06; 71 points in 2006-07; 88 points in 2007-08 and 104 points in 2008-09.
The Blackhawks’ rebuild started less than two months after their last playoff appearance in 2002 when they selected Duncan Keith in the second round of the 2002 Draft (54th overall). Since that time their Draft choice from their present day roster have also included: Adam Burish: 2002, 282nd overall; Brent Seabrook: 2003, 14th overall; Dustin Byfuglien: 2003, 245th overall; Cam Barker: 2004, 3rd overall; Dave Bolland: 2004, 34th overall; Troy Brouwer: 2004, 214th overall; Niklas Hjalmarsson: 2005, 108th overall; Jonathan Toews: 2006, 3rd overall; and Patrick Kane: 2007, 1st overall.
The Blackhawks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and are making their second post-season appearance in the past 11 years.
A great deal of the Blackhawks success this season can be attributed to their play on the road — they tied a franchise record with 22 road wins and had a 22-15-4 record away from the United Center. Last season, the Blackhawks posted a 17-18-6 mark on the road.
The Blackhawks ranked fifth in the League with a 2.51 team goals-against average in 2008-09 … they finished 20th in the league with a 2.82 average last season.
The Blackhawks tied for fourth in the League with an average of 3.22 goals per game this season after finishing 10th in the league in 2007-08 with an average of 2.85 goals per game.
C Jonathan Toews was named the 34th captain in Blackhawks history on July 17, making him the third-youngest player to earn that distinction in League history. Toews, who turned 21 on Apr. 29, is the second youngest captain to lead a team in the Stanley Cup playoffs (after Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby).
G Nikolai Khabibulin posted a 25-8-7 record this season, marking the 10th time in his 13-year NHL career that he has reached the 20-victory plateau. He ranked fourth among NHL goaltenders with a 2.33 goals-against average.
RW Martin Havlat led the Blackhawks with 48 assists and 77 points — both career highs — and ranked second on the club with 29 goals and a personal-best +29 rating.
Head coach Joel Quenneville posted a 45-22-11 mark since being named the 37th bench boss in Blackhawks history on Oct. 16.
Oct. 19: The Blackhawks recorded their first win under new head coach Joel Quenneville with a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at United Center. Quenneville was hired Oct. 15 and made his debut behind the bench in a 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues the following night.
Nov. 22: Dave Bolland scored the winning goal in overtime as the Blackhawks overcame 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 at Air Canada Centre. The goal and the win were extra special for the Toronto native Bolland, who was playing in front of more than 50 friends and family on the night the home side honored Maple Leaf legend Wendel Clark.
Dec. 16: The Blackhawks continued their surge on a Western Conference road trip by handing the Edmonton Oilers a 9-2 defeat — the most goals Edmonton has surrendered since a 9-4 loss to Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 1992. Chicago went 4-for-5 on the power play in winning a fifth consecutive game, their longest streak since 2001-02.
Dec. 28: The Blackhawks set a franchise record by recording their ninth consecutive victory, a 4-1 decision over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The club surpassed the mark of eight consecutive victories set in December 1971 and matched in January 1981. Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien enjoyed a career night, figuring in all four goals (two goals, two assists).
Apr. 3: Captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal — his team-leading 32nd of the season — as the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1 to clinch their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth since 2001-02.