Red Wings Have Advantage as they Eye Second Straight Stanley Cup

Chris GehringContributor IJune 7, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 06:  Head coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings speaks to the press after Game Five of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings have been here before. After last year's Stanley Cup Final, so have the Pittsburgh Penguins.

What's the difference between the two?

Without much in-depth analysis, the return of Pavel Datsyuk, the presence of Nicklas Lidstrom, and the brilliance of Henrik Zetterberg and others in Game Five.

Oh, and there's the ageless Chris Osgood, who shut out the hapless Pens Saturday,  while seeing 22 shots.

Joe Louis Arena countered the electric atmosphere the Wings faced in Game Four, and head coach Mike Babcock's squad came through with an equally electric performance on Saturday night. What ensued after the opening face-off was something that this series has not yet seen: an absolute drubbing.

The tide was turned after Detroit's four-goal outburst in the second period, which left Sidney Crosby and company shell-shocked and without an answer.

The Wings now have the series advantage, momentum, a much needed extra day off, an at least somewhat healthy Pavel Datsyuk, and an added experience that can only benefit their bid for another championship. But the Pens have experience too, don't they?

Sure, if you count one year of Stanley Cup action as experience. The problem for the youthful Penguins is that the experience came against the same team that they are playing in 2009; the same team that thoroughly dominated them just a year ago, the Detroit Red Wings. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the nucleus of the squad, and they have some of the very least experience among the team.

Detroit will look to end the series in Pittsburgh in Game Six for a second straight year, as they look for their veteran leadership to win in the difficult environment of Mellon Arena. 

Experience is still on the Wings' side, with a home game waiting in the event of a loss in Game Six. Expect that experience to lead the Wings to a historic back-to-back Cup title.

After all, they're still the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, right?