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Computer simulation picks Wings to win it all

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

Computer simulations conducted by WhatIf Sports have determined that the Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup in five games.

Get ready for a victory parade, Hockeytown!

According to WhatIf Sports, the Red Wings will dispatch the Penguins in five games to claim their first Stanley Cup title since 2002 and fourth in the last 11 seasons.

That is what was determined in 10,000 Stanley Cup finals computer simulations conducted by WhatIf Sports, a fantasy sports Web site designed to simulate games between past and present sports teams using real historical statistics.

After 10,000 simulations were run, the veteran Wings defeated the up-and-coming Penguins 68 percent of the time, with the most common occurrence a five-game series in which Pittsburgh will earn its only victory in Game 3 on home ice.

The simulations were run using the actual 2007-08 regular season stats compiled by Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Game 1
Pittsburgh 1 at Detroit 3 – Mikael Samuelsson (2-1-3) and Henrik Zetterberg (1-2-3) provide the offense and Chris Osgood makes 26 saves to lead the Red Wings. Petr Sykora scores the only goal for the Penguins. Led by Pavel Datsyuk (two assists), Detroit also dominates faceoffs (73.8 percent). The three stars are Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Datsyuk.


Sat, May 24: Penguins @ Red Wings
Mon, May 26: Penguins @ Red Wings
Wed, May 28: Red Wings @ Penguins
8:00pmET - NBC, CBC, RDS
Sat, May 31: Red Wings @ Penguins
8:00pmET - NBC, CBC, RDS
*Mon, June 2: Penguins @ Red Wings
8:00pmET - NBC, CBC, RDS
*Wed, June 4: Red Wings @ Penguins
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*Sat, June 7: Penguins @ Red Wings
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Game 2
Pittsburgh 1 at Detroit 4 – Detroit takes a 3-0 lead to chase Marc-Andre Fleury from the net early in the third period, the second-straight game he is replaced by Ty Conklin. Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula (shorthanded) score in the second period, and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski (1-1-2) pad the lead in the third for the Wings. Sykora scores once again for the Pens. The three stars are Rafalski, Osgood (30 saves) and Filppula (1-1-2).

Game 3
Detroit 0 at Pittsburgh 3 – The Pens get revenge with two first-period goals from Ryan Malone, both assisted by Sykora and Evgeni Malkin, and Marian Hossa scores in the second, with Sidney Crosby earning his first career point in the Final. Fleury makes 23 saves for the shutout. The three stars are Fleury, Malone and Malkin.

Game 4
Detroit 1 at Pittsburgh 0 – Zetterberg scores the game’s only goal 13 seconds into the first period, assisted by Rafalski and Samuelsson, to give the Wings a 3-1 series lead. For the second straight game, only one penalty was called (Maxime Talbot, two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct). The three stars are Osgood (35 saves), Fleury (29 saves) and Zetterberg.

Game 5

Pittsburgh 3 at Detroit 4 – In the wildest and highest-scoring game of the series, the Red Wings erase a 3-0 third period deficit with four unanswered goals, the last by Datsyuk at 5:17 of overtime, to capture the Cup at Joe Louis Arena. Hossa scored the first of his two goals only six seconds into the game, Malone also scores, and Crosby and Pascal Dupuis each record two assists. Pittsburgh squanders a brilliant 48-save performance by Fleury. Daniel Cleary began the comeback with his first goal of the series at 12:20 of the third period, and Zetterberg (1-1-2) and Filppula scored 1:01 apart late in the period to force overtime. Samuelsson recorded two assists and Osgood made 21 saves. The three stars are Datsyuk, Hossa and Fleury.

Osgood is also awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP. In 18 games, he went 14-4 and permitted 28 goals. Zetterberg scored a goal in four of five games, and he and Samuelsson tie for the scoring lead in the Final with seven points each. Sykora (2-3-5) was the high scorer for Pittsburgh, one point ahead of Malone (3-1-4).

In another simulation conducted by WhatIf before the playoffs began, their "super computer" gave Detroit (61.5 percent) and Pittsburgh (17.2 percent) the first and third best chances, respectively, of making the Stanley Cup Final. The original Stanley Cup Final prediction was Detroit over Montreal, giving the Red Wings a 51.1 percent chance of winning the Cup.


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Author: Rocky Bonanno | Staff Writer

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