National Hockey League teams spend six months and 82 games working to capture the best possible seeding for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Though one team is a top seed and one is a wild card, first-round opponents the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars were both thrilled with their regular-season outcomes this year. The Ducks put together a strong season and finished at the top of the Western Conference, while the Stars made the playoffs for the first time in six years when they grabbed the final playoff seed, outracing the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Stars and Ducks have met twice before in the playoffs, with each team winning once. Interestingly, the lower-seeded team prevailed both times.
In 2003, Anaheim beat Dallas in six games in the second round, then reached the Stanley Cup Final before falling to the New Jersey Devils. In 2008, the Stars toppled the defending Cup champion Ducks in six games in the first round.
The Western Conference No. 1 seed Anaheim Ducks will open their playoffs against the second wild card Dallas Stars on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Here's a look at what to expect from the series.