Games one and two for both series were covered here on Faceoff-Factor:

And so, in case you missed them…

8. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
2. Detroit Red Wings
Series tied 3-3

GAME 1: DET 3, ANA 2
GAME 2: ANA 4, DET 3 (3OT)
GAME 3: ANA 2, DET 1
GAME 4: DET 6, ANA 3
GAME 5: DET 4, ANA 1
GAME 6: ANA 2, DET 1

Game 3:
Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller made 45 saves in a controversial 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to give the Ducks a 2-1 series lead.

Anaheim had jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Teemu Selanne in the first period and Scott Niedermayer early in the second period.

Detroit countered at 14:20 of the 2nd with a goal by Henrik Zetterberg. However, no goal was as important as the one that did not count.

In the waning moments of the 3rd period, with Anaheim clinging to a one goal lead, Detroit pulled netminder Chris Osgood, who turned in a 21-save performance, for an extra skater. With pressure deep in the Anaheim defensive zone, Scott Niedermayer attempted to clear the puck out, but misplayed it. The puck ended up slowly skidding across the goal line, near Jonas Hiller. Detroit RW Marian Hossa poked the puck past Hiller with 1:04 left in the 3rd, seemingly tying the game up for the Red Wings.

Referee Brad Watson, however, had lost sight of the puck and had blown his whistle, effectively meaning that while the puck was still loose, it was “dead” before Hossa poked it into the net.

In a post game press conference, E.J McGuire, the supervisor of officials for the Anaheim/Detroit series stated, “First off, as any of us watch on a replay, it’s easy to make the correct call. In the case tonight, the official was down along the goal line. He was moving forward toward the net to try to get a look at where the puck was. When he couldn’t see the puck, all referees’ instructions are to blow the whistle and blow the play dead. A combination of the black puck and the black pants may have been a factor. But when he didn’t see the puck, he blew the whistle.”
Naturally, the Red Wings were furious.

“We should be playing (overtime) obviously, right now,” said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock in a post game press conference. “Two teams scored twice tonight, but it just didn’t work out that way. There’s no sense in complaining about the refereeing or anything like that.”

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom stated, “I’m standing up at the blue line and I can see the puck the whole time. I think the referee was in a bad position where he couldn’t see the puck. It’s unfortunate for us, but that’s the way it happened tonight. It’s a tough call. That’s the way the rule is right now.”

Game 4:
The Detroit Red Wings were finally able to figure out Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. The Red Wings scored 5 goals on Hiller, who was eventually pulled in the 3rd period and replaced by 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere, in a 6-3 victory, evening up the series at 2 games apiece.

Anaheim’s Corey Perry had two goals and an assist. Detroit’s Johan Franzen matched Perry’s output and and Marian Hossa had two goals, including one on the powerplay.

Perry opened the game with a quick goal a mere 42 seconds into the game. Johan Franzen answered at 11:49 of the first and then again with 36 seconds left in the first period to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead after 1. Perry answered again at 11:03 of the second period. Marian Hossa scored an even strength goal at 16:02 and a power play goal at 19:04 of the second period to give Detroit a 4-2 lead.

Scoring in the third period consisted of Detroit’s Mikael Samuelsson scoring 2:46 into the frame, Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer scoring on the powerplay at 10:03, and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg putting the puck in the empty net at 17:27.

Anaheim rookie net minder Jonas Hiller, who had been stellar in the quarter final matchup against San Jose and the first 3 games of the Ducks’ series with Detroit, was pulled after facing 2 shots in the 3rd period. He surrendered 5 goals on 33 shots and was replaced by J.S. Giguere, who saved all 6 shots that he faced in 14:37 of ice time.

Game 5:
With momentum from game 4 on their side, and a return to their home in the Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Red Wings used 3 even strength goals and one empty netter to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1.

The first period was a lopsided shooting gallery in favor of the Red Wings: Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller was peppered with 14 shots in the first 20 minutes while Detroit netminder Chris Osgood faced only 3 shots.

The Red Wings finally broke the ice in the second period when a shot by Johan Franzen found its way behind Hiller. A mere 39 seconds later, Jiri Hudler also deposited the proverbial “biscuit in the basket”, and the Red Wings skated with a 2-0 lead.

Anaheim took advantage of a Niklas Kronwall interference penalty as defenseman Ryan Whitney scored his first goal of the postseason on the man advantage opportunity. Whitney, traded to Anaheim from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Chris Kunitz and top prospect Alex Tangradi, was also assisted by another former Penguin, Erik Christensen, whom was traded last season at the trade deadline for Marian Hossa. Hossa, who left Pittsburgh for Detroit after the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup last season, was held pointless on the evening.

Red Wing Darren Helm scored his first of the playoffs at 16:52 and Henrik Zetterberg netted his second empty net goal in two nights to close the game out for the Red Wings with a final score of 4-1.

The Red Wings would take a 3-2 lead back to Anaheim with the hopes of ending this series.

Detroit appears to have solved the “mystery of Jonas Hiller”, as they continued to pepper Hiller with as many shots as possible. Hiller ended up allowing 3 goals on 37 shots.

On the other side of the ice, Detroit insulated netminder Chris Osgood. Osgood faced only 17 shots on the night, with only the 4-on-5 being the only blemish against him on the evening.

Game 6:
With their backs against the wall, facing elimination, the Anaheim Ducks knew they would have to match the Detroit Red Wings stride for stride in game 6 of their Western Conference semi-final matchup. They held home ice advantage, winning 2-1 to force a game 7. However, game 6 will not be known for the great hockey contest between two great clubs, but for the physical shenanigans that occurred at the end of the game.

The evening began much like game 5 did in Detroit: tightly contested with each team attempting to find a weakness in the other’s game. Both teams failed to convert on power play opportunities in the first period.

With Niklas Kronwall in the penalty box for delay of game/puck over glass, Anaheim Ducks young gun Ryan Getzlaf scored a power play goal, assisted by Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. Later, at 17:35 of the second period, Getzlaf returned the favor to Perry as he received the primary assist on Perry’s 7th goal of the post season.

With 39 shots heading his way, and the team’s season on the line, Jonas Hiller stood tall with only Johan Franzen, who scored his 8th goal of the post season for Detroit, able to beat him at 17:35 of the third period on the man-advantage.

And then … things got ugly.

As the final horn sounded the victory for the Ducks, forcing game seven in Detroit, tempers boiled over into large scale physical battles. Detroit RW Marian Hossa and Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf came together and began to push and shove. Meanwhile, on the half-wall, Scott Niedermayer and Pavel Datsyuk got physical, with Niedermayer hitting Datsyuk with an elbow in the face before the gloves came off.

Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski received fighting majors at 20:00 of the third period.

The penalty minutes for the Anaheim Ducks skyrocketed as Corey Perry received a 2 minute roughing minor, a 5 minute fighting major, and a 10 minute game misconduct. Scott Niedermayer received a 5 minute fighting major. Todd Marchant received a 10 minute game misconduct. Ryan Getzlaf received a pair of 2 minute minor penalties, one for hooking and one for roughing.

And so, the stage has been set for an epic battle in game 7. There will be fireworks on the ice as the 2007/2008 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the 2006/2007 Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks must square off in one final show down for the right to advance to the Western Conference final.

4. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Vancouver Canucks
Chicago defeats Vancouver 4-2 to advance to Western Conference Finals

GAME 1: VAN 5, CHI 3
GAME 2: CHI 6, VAN 3
GAME 3: VAN 3, CHI 1
GAME 4: CHI 2, VAN 1 (OT)
GAME 5: CHI 4, VAN 2
GAME 6: CHI 7, VAN 5

As mentioned above, games 1 and 2 were already covered.

Game 3:
After falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 in game 2, a game in which the Vancouver Canucks “took their foot of the throats” of the Blackhawks and ultimately lost the game, the Vancouver Canucks hoped to bounce back with a solid performance.

They ended up with their best 60-minute performance of this Western Conference semi-final series, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 and taking a 2-1 series lead.

“It was our game plan not to feed their transition,” said Canucks netminder, and captain, Roberto Luongo to reporters after the game. “I couldn’t even count the number of turnovers on my hand. We kept forechecking them and playing our game. We didn’t sit back and protect the lead, and didn’t turn the puck over. It was a solid effort.”

Luongo made 23 stops on the evening. That number would have been much higher had it not been for the 21 blocked shots registered by the rest of the Vancouver Canucks.

Left wing mason Raymond, who entered the Canucks lineup as a replacement for scratched-due-to-injury Pavol Demitra, scored his first career playoff goal at 15:34 of the first period to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Steve Bernier deposited the puck behind Chicago netminder Nikolai Khabibulin on a man-advantage 1:00 into the second period to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead. Henrik Sedin added to that lead with his fourth of the playoffs at 8:40 of the second period. The final goal of the game, a power play goal, was scored by Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks at 11:09 of the second period.

As a side note, captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews, received a 2 minute high sticking infraction at 20:00 of the 3rd period.

Game 4:
For the fourth time in this series, the Chicago Blackhawks failed to score first. And again, the “comeback kids” were able to weather the storm, mount a comeback, and emerge victorious.
For the first period and a half, the matchup played out like a chess game, according to Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. “Today was probably one of the best chess matches I’ve seen in hockey this whole year but, unfortunately, we came out on the wrong side.”

Darcy Hordichuk scored an even strength goal at 8:32 of the second period to give the lead to Vancouver. However, the Canucks were unable to hold onto that 1-0 lead as Chicago’s Martin Havlat scored his fourth goal of the playoffs at 17:16 of the third period to force overtime.

Overtime did not last long as Havlat returned the favor to Andrew Ladd, who assisted on his game tying goal, with a secondary assist on Ladd’s overtime winner at 2:52, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory for the evening and tying the series up at 2.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo made 26 out of 28 saves on the evening. On the other side of the ice, Nikolai Khabibulin needed to stay mentally sharp, as Vancouver could only muster 15 shots on goal for the evening, with Hordichuk’s being the only shot to enter the net.

With both teams splitting home games and the series knotted up at 2 games apiece, this series is wide open.

Game 5:
For the first time in the series, the Chicago Blackhawks drew “first blood”, as Dustin Byfuglien gave Chicago an early 1-0 lead, which they never relinquished on their way to a 4-2 victory and 3-2 series lead over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver tied things up a minute and a half later with Ryan Kesler scoring his second of the postseason while the Canucks had a man-advantage with Chicago’s Andrew Ladd in the penalty box for roughing. Mats Sundin chipped in his second goal of the playoffs, assisted by Henrik Sedin, to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.

A turning point for the Blackhawks occurred late in the second period. After some rough stuff at 17:12 of the second period as Chicago’s Kris Versteeg received a 2 minute cross-checking minor and Matt Walker received a 10 minute game misconduct, while Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa received a 2 minute roughing minor and Shane O’Brien received a 2 minute roughing minor and a 10 minute game misconduct. When all was said and done, Chicago ended up with a one man advantage.

On the ensuing power play, Dustin Byfuglien scored his second goal of the game, and third of the playoffs, at 18:22 of the second period with a wrist shot from the high slot, knotting the game up at 2.

“It was kind of through a screen, there was a lot of traffic going on,” Byfuglien said to reporters after the game. “You just throw pucks on net and you never know what can happen.” The goal sent Chicago to the locker room brimming with confidence.

The Blackhawks power play struck again at 15:55 of the third period as Dave Bolland put the ‘Hawks up 3-2. Martin Havlat poked in an empty netter to seal the game for the Blackhawks 4-2, and put the Vancouver Canucks on the brink of elimination.

On both power play goals against, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was sitting in the penalty box, feeling shame.

Nikolai Kabibulin turned in a 19 save effort for the Blackhawks, besting his counterpart Roberto Luongo and his 26 saves on the evening.

Roberto Luongo will need to morph into a brick wall as Vancouver will be heading to Chicago in an attempt to stave off elimination from the playoffs.

Game 6:
Being all dressed up and having nowhere to go can sometimes be a good thing. That is what the Chicago Blackhawks are feeling right now, as they came up big in game 6 and eliminated the Vancouver Canucks from the playoffs with a 7-5 victory in front of a wild and raucous home crowd. The Blackhawks will be waiting for the winner of the Anaheim/Detroit series for their first Western Conference finals appearance since 1995.

Patrick Kane will have plenty of hats to wear, as he netted his first career post season hat trick.

The lamp was lit early and often in a wild game that had a total of 12 goals scored.

Vancouver scorers included: Mason Raymond (even strength at 11:13 of the first period), Daniel Sedin (even strength, 11:09 of the second period), Shane O’Brien (even strength, 14:49 of the second period), Mats Sundin (even strength, 2:43 of the third period), and Daniel Sedin (power play goal, 12:15 of the third period). Still, these five goals were not enough.

Chicago goals were scored by: Patrick Kane (even strength, 13:13 of the first period; even strength, 13:00 of the third period; even strength, 16:17 of the third period), Kris Versteeg (power play goal, 3:25 of the second period), Jonathan Towes (power play goal, 10:17 of the second period; power play, 13:49 of the third period), Adam Burish (even strength, 5:41 of the third period).

Chicago netminder Nikolai Khabibulin faced 38 shots on the evening, 8 more than Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo.

“All 11 of those guys got all the experience they needed 10 minutes into the first period of our first playoff game,” Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell said to reporters after the series clinching victory over Vancouver. “Whatever the obstacle, you go after it and chase it and you go hard. For us, there’s enough experience around this locker room and even those guys who hadn’t played in a playoff game prior to this season, like Ben Eager and Adam Burish, are heart-and-soul guys. They gave us jump and got us going.

“Khabie did very well controlling rebounds and we were trying to help him out in that area as well. It’s a lot of 5-man stuff in the neutral zone where we’re just taking care of business. We’re holding onto puck in our offensive zone and just working harder in other areas on the ice.”