All three previous Anaheim-Detroit playoff meetings were sweeps

Detroit eliminated Anaheim in the second round in 1997 on the way to its first Stanley Cup in 42 years and it knocked out Anaheim in the first round in 1999. In 2003, the seventh-seeded Ducks shocked the second-seeded Red Wings in the first round. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was coaching the Ducks that year – his first behind an NHL bench.

Babcock loved it in California, and he’s just as happy in Detroit. He’s never had an axe to grind for being let go by Anaheim.

“It’s been good for them and it’s been good for me,” said Babcock. “It’s kind of like a trade.”

SIX REMAIN: Six players remain from Babcock’s last season in Anaheim, 2003-04: forwards Andy McDonald, Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Chris Kunitz and goaltenders J.S. Giguere and Ilja Bryzgalov.

FIVE-YEAR WAIT: The Red Wings are making their first appearance in the conference final since their Stanley Cup-winning campaign in 2002.

The Ducks are in it for the second straight year and third time in four years. They beat Minnesota in 2003 and got to the championship series only to lose in seven games to New Jersey, and they were knocked out by Edmonton last spring.

CONSISTENTLY GOOD: This is Detroit’s sixth appearance in the third round of the playoffs in the last 13 years, and that ties Colorado for most in that span.

AWARD WINNERS: Four previous Norris Trophy winners will be on the ice in the Anaheim-Detroit conference final.

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom is a four-time winner and is a finalist this year, and Chris Chelios is a three-time winner. The Ducks’ Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, the other two finalists this year, have won the Norris once each, and Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle also won the award when he played for Pittsburgh in 1981.

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MEMORIES OF THE JOE: Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer will be playing his first playoff game at Joe Louis Arena in nearly 12 years. In his last post-season game at the Joe, on June 20, 1995, Niedermayer’s highlight-reel goal in the third period helped New Jersey defeat the Red Wings 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final en route to a four-game sweep.

SEVEN FROM RECORD: Chris Chelios, Detroit’s 45-year-old defenceman, has appeared in 240 career playoff games, which leaves him only seven shy of tying Patrick Roy for the all-time lead.

D-MEN WHO SCORE: The Red Wings’ Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on the all-time playoff scoring list for defencemen.

Chelios has 142 points (39 goals, 103 assists), Lidstrom has 129 (38 goals, 91 assists). The only blue-liners ahead of them are Paul Coffey (196), Ray Bourque (180), Denis Potvin (164), Al MacInnis (160), Larry Murphy (152) and Larry Robinson (144).

PRAISING TEEMU: Hasek is a Teemu Selanne fan.

“He didn’t score 500 goals because he was lucky,” says Hasek. “At his age, he still has great speed, and he’s a very skilled player. He knows where to be and he can find even a small hole to score a goal.”

TOP SEEDS: In making it to the conference final, No. 1 Detroit and No. 2 turned things around from last spring, when the top four seeds all fell by the wayside.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Anaheim RW Dustin Penner used to deliver the Winnipeg Free Press on his paper route as a youngster and Ducks D Francois Beauchemin delivered Le Journal de Montreal.

WINNIPEG TIES: Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle and right-winger Teemu Selanne played for the Winnipeg Jets, as did Red Wings centre Kris Draper and assistant coach Paul MacLean.