And the winner is ...

ERIC FRANCIS

, Last Updated: 3:10 PM ET

Last year, they drew up the blueprint for Stanley Cup success.

This year, they've improved upon it.

The Ducks are actually a better team than they were last year when they bashed their way to the franchise's first crown.

Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne are well rested, Ryan Getzlaf has emerged as one of the league's premier forwards and Todd Bertuzzi arrived to add even more toughness, depth and scoring to the group.

The game's best blueline bunch is even deeper and more dangerous with Mathieu Schneider giving the club three of the best pairings the league has seen in decades.

None of this is to speak of leading goal-scorer Corey Perry, who will soon return from injury. Jonas Hiller even looks capable enough to step in for J.S. Giguere as Ilya Bryzgalov had to en route to the parade in '07

The Ducks also draw a relatively easy opponent in Dallas, giving the Ducks a nice warmup for a lengthy run.


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