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Pittsburgh vs. Detroit Series Preview

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins


THE FUNDAMENTALS
Pittsburgh Penguins (45-28-9-99) vs. Detroit Red Wings (51-21-10-112)

Saturday, May 30 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 31 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Thursday, June 4 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Saturday, June 6 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Tuesday, June 9 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Friday, June 12 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
*If necessary

Radio: WXDX Radio, FM 105.9 (All games)
TV:
NBC will air Games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. The Versus Network will broadcast Games 3 and 4.
CBC and RDS will show all seven games.
FSN Pittsburgh will broadcast a post-game show following Games 1 and 2 featuring Dan Potash with interviews from the locker room. The post-game show will air following any broadcasts of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball.

Season Series:
Pittsburgh 1-1-0; Detroit 1-0-1
In Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh 0-1-0; Detroit 1-0-0
In Detroit:
Pittsburgh 1-0-0; Detroit 0-0-1

Game-by-Game Results:

Nov. 11 at Detroit: Penguins 7, Red Wings 6 OT
Feb 8. at Pittsburgh: Penguins 0, Detroit 3

 
PENGUINS PROJECTED LINES RED WINGS PROJECTED LINES
Forwards
Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Fedotenko-Malkin-Talbot
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Dupuis-Adams-Satan
(Sykora, Godard)

Defense
Gonchar-Orpik
Letang-Eaton
Gill-Scuderi
(Boucher, Goligoski)

Netminder
Fleury
Forwards
Franzen-Zetterberg-Hudler
Holmstrom-Fippula-Hossa
Cleary-Helm-Samuelsson
Leino-Abdelkader-Maltby
(Draper, Datsyuk)

Defense
Rafalski-Kronwall
Stuart-Lebda
Chelios-Meech
(Lidstrom, Ericsson, Lilja)

Netminder
Osgood
 
TALE OF THE TAPE

Pittsburgh   Detroit
45-28-9 Record 51-21-10
99
Points 112
25-13-3
Home
27-9-5
20-15-6 Road
24-12-5
264 Goals For
295
239 Goals Against
244
17.2% (20) Power Play (rank)
(1) 25.2%
82.7% (8) Penalty Kill (rank)
(25) 78.3%
Malkin, 113* Scoring Leader
97, Datsyuk
Malkin, 35 Goal Leader
40, Hossa
Malkin, 78* Assist Leader
65, Datsyuk
Fleury, 35 Wins Leader 26, Osgood
Crosby, 28# Playoff Leader 19, Franzen

* Led NHL
# Leads NHL
 
LOWDOWN ON THE RED WINGS
What’s left to say about the Detroit Red Wings? They’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions – a fact the Penguins know all too painfully well – and entering this season they were the favorite to repeat. The Wings have won four titles in the past 11 seasons. Oh, did I mention that they are also the last team in the league to win back-to-back titles (1997-98). Detroit easily won the Central Division for the eighth straight season. What’s more, the Red Wings may actually be more dangerous this season with the additions made by general manager Ken Holland. The only major roster loss was Dominik Hasek’s retirement, but Holland brought in a quality backup in Ty Conklin, and then added the best available free agent on the market, the two-way, dynamic sniper Marian Hossa – again, a fact the Penguins know all too painfully well.
 
POSTSEASON RECAP
Detroit kicked off the postseason with a four-game sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round. However, the seventh-seeded Anaheim Ducks were a handful for Detroit. After winning the first game, the Red Wings dropped the next two. Detroit won Games 4 and 5 to mount a 3-2 series lead. But the Ducks' victory in Game 6 forced a a do-or-die Game 7. The contest was tied at 3-3 until Dan Cleary scored with three minutes left in regulation to lift Detroit to the Western Conference Final. Detroit got the best of division rival Chicago Blackhawks to advance to its second consecutive Stanley Cup Final.
 
FORWARDS
Detroit boasted the top-ranked offense in the NHL with 3.52 goals per game, easily besting second-place Boston (3.29). Detroit also had the best power play in the league, converting at a 25.2-percent clip.

Pavel Datsyuk paced the team in scoring with 97 points and 65 assists. He’s also a great two-way forward. The former Lady Byng winner posted a plus-34 rating. Henrik Zetterberg, who signed a 12-year contract with the Red Wings, finished third on the team with 73 points (31G-42A). He’s second on the team with 18 postseason points (9G-9A). Penguins’ defector Marian Hossa was the Red Wings’ leading goal scorer with 40 tallies. He also chipped in 31 assists for 71 points.

Johan Franzen is a linebacker on skates at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds. He loves to crash the net and harass goaltenders. He placed second on the team with 34 goals. Franzen leads the Wings in postseason scoring with 19 (10G-9A). Veteran Tomas Holmstrom totaled 37 points (14G-23A), despite playing in only 53 games.

Jiri Hudler continues to develop as a player. The 25-year-old Czech native set new career highs with 23 goals and 57 points. Dan Cleary is an energy player that chipped in 40 points for Detroit.
 
DEFENSEMEN
Detroit allowed 2.93 goals per game, ranking 20th in the NHL. The Red Wings struggled in the penalty killing department. They ranked 25th with a 78.3-percent kill rate.

Nicklas Lidstrom is still one of the best, if not the best, defensemen in the league despite being 39 years old. Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski paired up as one of the best duos in the NHL. The tandem were the top scoring blueliners for Detroit with Lidstrom netting 59 points (16G-43A) and Rafalski also posting 59 (10G-49A).

Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall add a physical presence on the Red Wings’ blue line. Kronwall established himself as an elite hitter that can light up opponents with punishing hits. Stuart decided to sign with Detroit after being acquired by the Red Wings at last season’s trade deadline. He’s a big body that skates smoothly and makes accurate passes.
 
GOALTENDING
Chris Osgood has played his way back from obscurity to the top of the world. After brief stints with the N.Y. Islanders and St. Louis Blues, Osgood returned to Detroit after the lockout to be a backup for the team that he once led to a Stanley Cup championship. Three seasons later, he replaced Hall-of-Famer Dominik Hasek in net and led Detroit to another title. It was a good story during the Cup run. In 46 games this year, Osgood went 26-9-8 with a 3.09 goals-agaisnt average and .887 save percentage, and once again backstopped Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final.

Ty Conklin went from AHL goaltender, to backup and even starter for the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Penguins last season. Conklin shined with an 18-8-5 record, 2.51 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He may have salvaged Pittsburgh’s season when Marc-Andre Fleury was lost to injury. He signed a one-year deal to make a run for a Cup and is a serviceable backup. Conklin posted strong numbers in 40 appearances with a 25-11-2 record, 2.51 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
 
POINT OF INTEREST
The Red Wings are a banged up team right now. Below is a list of their injuries:

• C Kris Draper missed his second straight game with a pulled groin sustained late in the third period of Game 3. He is listed as day-to-day. Draper’s next playoff game will be his 197th, moving him past Steve Yzerman into sole possession of second place on the club’s career list.

• D Niklas Lidstrom (lower body) did not play in Games 4 or 5 of the Western Conference final. It’s not clear whether he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

• D Pavel Datsyuk (bruised foot) did not play in the last three games of the Western Conference final. It’s not clear whether he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

• D Jonathan Ericsson (appendectomy) did not play in Game 5 of the Western Conference final. It’s not clear whether he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

• C Kris Draper (groin) did not play in Games 4 or 5 of the Western Conference final. It’s not clear whether he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

• D Andreas Lilja was diagnosed with a bleeding vein in his head, which is causing his headaches. He has resumed skating with the team but remains out indefinitely, with no timetable for his return.

Medical Report courtesy of Yahoo! Sports
 

Author: Sam Kasan


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