After twelve wins apiece, the Detroit Red Wings will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year's Stanley Cup Finals. Popular belief is that the Red Wings will defeat the Penguins in six games, and I agree. But before I just go with the popular demand, I thought I'd explain my take on this series.
First of all, this should be a great series. Two highly-skilled teams which play to score goals will be on display. Both teams have lots of speed and are capable of scoring five to six goals a game, which should be exciting to watch.
As most people have already heard, this series contains four of the most talented forwards in the league, in Sidney Crosby, Evgani Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg. The two Europeans (that being Datsyuk and Zetterberg,) have been great this postseason and have finally shaken their tag of not being playoff performers. It's their coming-out party this year and they look to be dominate in this series.
The Red Wings have been the best shut-down team for the past decade. In regards to Malkin and Crosby, coach Mike Babcock said in his press conference today that you cannot stop them completely but you always try to contain them. The Penguins are young and will have other chances to win the Cup, but I see this Stanley Cup Finals as being a learning experience for down the road.
Here is how I see how the two teams matchup:
Forwards: Advantage Pittsburgh
Defense: Advantage Detroit
Coaching: Advantage Detroit
Special Teams: Advantage Pittsburgh
Intangibles: Advantage Detroit
Detroit has won each series thus far in enemy territory, showing they can win the big game on the road. The Penguins won't go quietly, so that leaves me with the following conclusion:
Red Wings in 6.
As Steve Kouleas from theScore television network said, "it's like Christmas Eve". I too cannot wait for the Stanley Cup Finals to begin. It should be a dandy.
P.S. As for the Conn Smythe, my pick is for Henrik Zetterberg.