Capsules of NHL conference finals series:
PITTSBURGH: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had a team-high seven points vs. the Hurricanes this season, will have to deal with the letdown following hyped second-round matchup against NHL MVP favorite Alex Ovechkin. Crosby had eight goals and 13 points vs. Capitals and will be trying to lead Penguins to second straight Stanley Cup finals appearance. ... After posting a 2.39 goals-against average in the first round, Marc-Andre Fleury had a 3.01 mark against high-scoring Washington. ... Regular-season scoring champ Evgeni Malkin had only two goals in second round, but still had 10 points in series - second to Crosby's 13. Crosby has 21 overall points, two more than Malkin. ... Trade deadline acquisitions LW Chris Kunitz and RW Bill Guerin have combined for 16 playoff points. Guerin (acquired from Islanders) has five goals and four assists. Kunitz (Ducks) has seven assists in the playoffs. ... C Jordan Staal will be facing a brother in the playoffs for the second straight year, this time taking on older sibling Eric - a Carolina center. Jordan's checking line duties will likely have him matched against Eric. ... Pittsburgh has scored on 19.7 percent of playoff power-play chances.
CAROLINA: Hurricanes won each playoff round with dramatic Game 7 wins on road. ... Have won six straight playoff series, dating to Stanley Cup title in 2006, and have captured four consecutive series in seven games. ... RW Erik Cole scored 15 goals in 17 regular-season games after being reacquired from Edmonton, and Hurricanes went 12-3-2 following his arrival. He has only two assists in these playoffs. ... Staal has team-leading nine postseason goals and 13 assists. Carolina is undefeated in the playoffs when he scores. ... Carolina has allowed only five goals in 54 short-handed situations in playoffs (90.7 percent) but have scored just five times in 48 power plays. ... G Cam Ward, the 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, has 2.22 GAA in these playoffs. He didn't play in first two regular-season meetings vs. Penguins, but allowed only three goals in the final two - both Hurricanes wins. ... RW Scott Walker scored his first NHL playoff goal in 25 games to win Game 7 against Boston 18:46 into overtime. Walker's key goal came after he learned during the series of his wife's diagnosis of cancer.
OUTLOOK: Carolina's storm front continues rolling through Pittsburgh. Hurricanes in 7.
DETROIT: Defending Stanley Cup champions are in Western Conference finals for third consecutive year and for the eighth time in 14 seasons. ... Red Wings-Blackhawks is the fourth-most common playoff matchup in NHL history, behind Montreal-Boston (32), Detroit-Toronto (23) and Chicago-Montreal (17). The Original Six teams joined the NHL for the 1926-27 season and have met a record 703 times - including this year's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, a 6-4 Red Wings win. ... LW Jiri Hudler had four goals, five assists vs. Blackhawks with a plus-5 rating. He had two goals and an assist at Wrigley. ... Red Wings looking to become first repeat Stanley Cup champions since they did it in 1997 and 1998. ... Detroit's "Mule" Johan Franzen scored six goals in second round. ... Chris Osgood has played every minute in the nets this postseason, allowing 24 goals on 303 shots and posting a 2.06 goals-against average. Osgood, a three-time Cup champion, is 10th on the career playoff win list with 67.
CHICAGO: Blackhawks earned their two wins over Red Wings with home-and-home sweep on final weekend of regular season. ... G Nikolai Khabibulin is looking to return to Stanley Cup finals for first time since backstopping Tampa Bay's run to the title in 2004. He is 22nd on NHL career playoff wins list with 39. ... Blackhawks trailed in all six games vs. Vancouver, but scored 14 of their 23 goals in the third period. ... Patrick Kane, in his second NHL season and first playoff appearance, had six goals and two assists in the second round - including a hat trick in Game 6. ... Martin Havlat led the scoring race against Detroit in regular season with eight points, including six assists. D Brian Campbell was second with seven points, all assists. ... Havlat is only Chicago player with at least 10 postseason goals (19 in 63 games). ... Blackhawks haven't been to Stanley Cup finals since 1992 when they lost to Pittsburgh. They haven't won the championship since 1961. ... C Samuel Pahlsson has two goals and five points in 10 career playoff games vs. Detroit while with Anaheim.
OUTLOOK: Defending champs Wing it again. Detroit in 6.