You can bet the Ducks were cheering just as crazily for the Canucks to bounce back in Game 7 after blowing a 3-1 series lead against Dallas. They got their wish and, on paper, the easiest route to the conference final of all the second round participants.
This is a Canucks team that was shut out three times in seven games against Dallas and was called out by coach Alain Vigneault before they rallied to advance. Against the Ducks, the Canucks will face much more physicality and a boatload more offense. In other words, the Canucks' reward for besting the Stars is a world of trouble at the hands of ageless warrior Teemu Selanne and twin towers Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer.
In a little twist of fate, this is a Canucks team that was more or less built by Anaheim GM Brian Burke, who has fashioned himself a Cup contender in California. Strange how the world works, no?
1. Roberto Luongo. Hands up for anyone who wondered how Roberto Luongo would perform in his first NHL playoff experience. Anyone wondering now? No one? Thought so. Luongo, whose name has been bandied about in MVP discussions, was simply sensational in a classic goaltending duel with the Stars' Marty Turco. If there was a defining moment, it was midway through the third period of Game 7, when Luongo robbed Stu Barnes in the slot with a glove save that stopped Barnes' celebratory stick-raise in mid-raise. Luongo's play has the potential to instill uncommon confidence in his teammates, and confidence is a considerable tool in the playoffs. If Luongo can backstop the Canucks to an early series lead, they have a chance.
2. That other guy. Although many folks like to point to the Luongo trade as one of the most lopsided in recent NHL history, the Ducks' acquisition of defenseman Francois Beauchemin last season from Columbus for overpaid, underachieving Sergei Fedorov has to get special consideration. Far from being a flash in the pan, Beauchemin has been a continuing revelation for the Ducks as he continues to log an enormous amount of ice time while developing big-time skills. Despite having a plate inserted in his face to correct a broken jaw suffered in Game 3, he returned to action in Game 5 and played 28:32. The native of Sorel, Quebec, also chipped in two power-play goals in the Ducks' first-round win over Minnesota. Along with Niedermayer and Pronger, Beauchemin gives the Ducks the best top three defensemen of any team in the postseason.
3. Ducks' rotating goalies. The Ducks continue their trend of being able to roll with the goaltending punches. A season ago, Ilya Bryzgalov came off the bench to help the Ducks upend Calgary in the first round and then stone-walled the Avalanche in the second round. Jean-Sebastien Giguere ultimately returned to split duties in the conference finals against Edmonton. This season, Giggy was superlative in compiling a 36-10-8 record during the regular season. Yet just before the playoffs began, Giguere and his wife gave birth to a child with an eye deformity that required surgery, and Giguere was supplanted once again by Bryzgalov as the playoff starter. Giguere returned in relief in Game 4 and was stellar in the fifth and deciding game against Minnesota, stopping 26 of 27 shots. He'll no doubt be the starter in Game 1 against Vancouver, but opponents know if Giggy struggles, there's another waiting in the wings. That kind of depth is worth its weight in Stanley Cup silver.
4. Goals, anyone? The Canucks somehow managed to get to the second round of the playoffs without bothering to score a goal in three of seven games against Dallas. Think that strategy will work against Niedermayer, Pronger, Selanne and Andy McDonald? Ha, ha, ha. Uh, no. No Canuck scored more than two goals in the first round, so that means twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin will have to rediscover their regular-season groove (they combined for 165 points) if they want to have a hope of keeping pace with the Ducks. And it might be nice if captain Markus Naslund, a one-time elite scorer, emerged from his two-season slumber and pitched in. He had two points in the first round, which doesn't exactly yell out "scoring depth."
5. The fatigue factor versus the rust factor. OK, maybe fatigue and rust is a red herring when it comes to the playoffs. Still, you have to imagine the Canucks will be worn to the bone after being pushed to a Game 7. The other issue was the tongue-lashing Vigneault gave his veteran players prior to the deciding game. Going to the whip might have worked for a one-game tournament, but what do the Canucks have left for a far superior foe? As for the Ducks, they're rested and healthy, although Beauchemin will still be wearing his face guard, and Todd Marchant isn't yet ready to return after hernia surgery. Interestingly, the Ducks haven't fared so well after long playoff rests, dropping the 2003 Stanley Cup finals to New Jersey after a 10-day break and losing to Edmonton in last season's Western Conference finals after a weeklong break.
• Sedin twins versus the twin towers. You think the Sedin twins had trouble getting untracked against the Stars? Wait until the Swedes get a load of Pronger and Niedermayer. Whether the two defensive giants play together or in tandem, it's unlikely the Sedins will see much ice time without being face-to-face with at least one of them. If the Sedins are neutralized, so are the Canucks.
• Canucks: Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for four points in the first six games of their series against Dallas, but rose to the challenge and combined for a goal and two assists in the last half of the third period of Game 7. Not hot? How about the entire team? Seriously, when Trevor Linden is tied for the goal-scoring lead in the playoffs, there's a whole lot of "not" going on.
• Ducks: Forward Ryan Getzlaf has followed up his strong 25-goal, 33-assist regular season with five points in the first round, including two game-winners. Forward Chris Kunitz had 25 goals, 35 assists and was plus-23 in the regular season, but has yet to score in the playoffs. He is also minus-2 through the first round.
No offense to the Canucks, but the Ducks will go through them like a hot knife through butter. We'll give Luongo one steal and call it a day. Anaheim in five.
Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.