Can it really get any better than this?

Danny DeKeyser grew up a Red Wings fan in Macomb, and watched a ton of playoff games.

He always enjoyed watching Nicklas Lidstrom, especially when the games were so important and the pressure was on.

"Just the way he played, he was so smart out there," DeKeyser said after practice Monday. "He'd make a great breakout pass, or he was working the power play and always getting the shot through.

"He's a guy I really enjoyed watching."

Tonight, DeKeyser won't be watching anyone — people will be watching him. He'll be playing for the Red Wings in Game 1 against the Ducks in Anaheim

DeKeyser is relishing the chance to participate in his first Stanley Cup playoffs.

Especially for his hometown team. And, the transition from Warren DeLaSalle graduate to Western Michigan to the NHL couldn't have been smoother.

"I don't know if he realizes how good he is or can be," Niklas Kronwall said of the fellow defenseman.

Said DeKeyser: "I didn't know how this all would play out when I got here (he signed as an undrafted free agent March 29). It's exciting to be part of this, the chance to play in playoff hockey. It's another level up and I know I'll have to improve my game and keep it going."

In 11 games, DeKeyser averaged 18 minutes and had one assist and a plus-4 rating.

The rave reviews poured in from DeKeyser's debut, April 5 in Colorado, and haven't stopped.

There never was that glaring error or misplay. The judgment has consistently been good.