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Detroit a Win Away; Penguins Collapse, Need Not Panic

June 7, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

pittsburgh debacle 275x300 Detroit a Win Away; Penguins Collapse, Need Not Panic
After game three the tide had indeed turned in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins as they parlayed their momentum into a 4-2 game four win to even the series at two. That momentum carried into the first period of game five which saw the Penguins outshoot Detroit 10-8 but resulting in the Red Wings taking a 1-0 first period lead. Then the wheels fell off… Three straight power play goals put the Red Wings ahead 4-0 and they never looked back. Pittsburgh lost its composure as they continued to tack up the penalties that ultimately led to the dismissal of Marc-Andre Fleury and a 5-0 Detroit win putting them only one win from their second straight Stanley Cup Title and Pittsburgh’s second straight finals loss. Fortunately for the Penguins the score does not carry over into the next game so they can start anew as they face series elimination prior to game seven for the first time in these playoffs and only the third time in the last two years. All Pittsburgh has to do in game six is forget about the second period of that game and return to their first period form of game five—and with the home crowd on their side that should be fairly easy to accomplish. There is no need for them to panic because they have amazing skill, talent, speed, coaching, and leadership to aid them in forcing a game seven in Detroit.

For Detroit it’s the same old story. They are one win away from winning their second straight title and fifth since 1997. They have allowed their experience and skill (along with impeccable coaching from Mike Babcock) to carry them through adversity by staying disciplined and focused. The Penguins can learn a whole lot from Detroit in how they bounced right back from dropping two in a row in Pittsburgh and having a game four second period to forget. As long as they remain patient, whether any early storm, and stay out of the penalty box (as they did Saturday night) they will no doubt be raising the Stanley Cup around 10:20pm or so Tuesday night.

From the causal Fan’s point of view hopefully game six is as entertaining as the rest of the series had been prior to period two of game five. And I see no reason why it wouldn’t be. If for no other reason excitement should build because for the first time this year the Cup will be in the house! Enjoy the game everyone.

[*Some of you may have noticed the drop off in the consistency of my posts the past couple of weeks. I was on vacation and had some unforeseen computer problems which did not allow me to post when I would have liked. But now I am back to my home computer and things are fine again; so thank you all for your patience and for sticking with me!]

Western Conference Finals Preview

May 17, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

wings vs hawks 300x276 Western Conference Finals Preview

The Conference Finals start Sunday afternoon so before they get rolling let’s take a lot at both series to see what we should expect from both and most importantly who will win!

Western Conference:

The Western Conference features the regulars versus the new kids on the block as the Detroit Red Wings take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Detroit won the Stanley Cup last year and are in position to be the first team to repeat as champions since they did it in 1997-98. This process is nothing new to the Red Wings and they’ll be all business come Sunday afternoon whereas the Blackhawks have not been here in quite some time. Chicago is looking to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992 where they were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. With those facts in mind which team has the edge? The easy answer is the Detroit Red Wings and rightfully so but there are other factors that play into this series that will make it a lot closer than it might first appear on paper. The following are what I think each team needs to do to win:

Detroit simply needs to remained focused on their goal. One of the things they pride themselves in is not retaliating to any post-whistle scrums, cheap shots, or “jaw-jacking” the other team might do which they have to continue to do. The Red Wings must allow their superior level of skill to shine through no matter the circumstances and stay out of the penalty box. This series is different from the previous two in that way because it is a natural rivalry that goes back to the 1920s and the early days of the NHL. But the most important factor for Detroit is going to be the play of Chris Osgood. There is no denying all that Osgood has accomplished but none of that is counted toward his record in this series. Osgood has played well thus far in the playoffs but if it returns to his regular season form at all the Hawks will eat him alive which would push Mike Babcock to insert Ty Conklin who was not much better over the course of the season and hasn’t played in these playoffs at all so far.

Chicago has to keep playing with reckless abandon giving no credence to any of the factors going against them. Sure this is the first time most of them have been in this spot and yes the Red Wings greatly outmatch them at almost every position and yes Detroit is very methodical about their play from the opening face-off to the end of the game. Chicago cannot look to the other side of the ice and be blinded by the glare of Hart, Conn Smythe, and Norris Trophies and Stanley Cup rings. The young Hawks simply need to play hockey they way they have all along in these playoffs. They don’t care who they are up against they are just a bunch of young guys who love to play hockey and are going out there to beat up on whoever they’re playing. Most importantly, they will have to rely heavily on Nikolai Khabibulin’s experience in goal to possibly propel them to the next level. If the Hawks can do that they give themselves a very good chance of winning this series. In the long run however I think the Red Wings will be too much and will send the Hawks packing in a very competitive five game series.

Tune in tomorrow for the Eastern Conference Finals preview.