I could very well just tell you I'm getting this preview of the Stanley Cup Finals in at the very last minute because it's such a tough series to call. And really, it is. Neither team has felt much resistance as they blew threw the first three rounds. The Penguins dropped one to the Rangers and one to the Flyers, and are sitting at 12-2. The Red Wings dropped two consecutive games in the first round against the Nashville Predators, but then turned to backup goaltender Chris Osgood, who strung together 9 straight victories. Fighting off elimination, the Dallas Stars took a couple from the Detroit, but the Wings went down to Dallas to seal up the Campbell Conference Trophy in a decisive 4-1 victory.
However, this preview is being mailed in last minute because I spent yesterday afternoon, probably not unlike many players from the 28 teams that won't be suiting up tonight, on the golf course hitting triple bogeys. Anything to distract me from counting down the hours until the puck drops.
Every way you turn in this match-up you run into numbers that tell you this is a heavy weight match. The Penguins haven't lost at home since February 24th. Remember February? The last time the Penguins lost at home the New York Giants were still glowing from their Super Bowl victory and Mitt Romney still thought he had a chance at becoming the 44rd President of the United States. I'm just saying, that's a long time.
But, you know, the Red Wings haven't done too poorly for themselves either. I vaguely remember something about them winning the Presidents Trophy as the top team in the NHL regular season. The closest team was 7 points back. And all of that was before Osgood came onto the scene full time and started stopping everything thrown his way.
I'm not going to repeat the "storylines" to you, because if you're reading some obscure hockey blog, then I don't need to tell you about Sidney Crosby. You know Evgeni Malkin and Marc Andre Fleury. The Penguins are young, and they are good. Likewise you know about Nicklas Lindstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, and Johan Franzen. Detroit is old, er... I mean experienced, but they are practically "Team World". This is clearly the match-up everyone wanted to see, the meeting of the titans.
So I suppose I need to wrap this up with some sort of prediction, albeit, completely skewed and biased. You could say this series is going either way and I wouldn't argue with you, but I'm picking my Penguins. It'll be a test heading into Detroit for games 1 and 2, but if they can split them they'll be poised to jump ahead with 3 and 4 heading back to the 'burgh. And just as a recap: I am biased. This could go either way. But, Pittsburgh Penguins become the 2008 Stanley Cup Champions in front of the home crowd in Game 6.