NHL Play-offs 2009: Predictions for the Stanley Cup Finals 2009

Obviously I am two days late to this blog post, but I tweeted the essentials before game 1, so I think this should still count.

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And here are my three reasons for picking the Wings:

1. Goaltending
I actually think that Osgood, despite being 36, really grew this season and all his previous mistakes will no longer matter in his playing. He seems to be very calm and in good state of mind to stop any puck coming his way.

2. Defense
Offense wins games, defense wins championships. It’s a cliché proverb but when one team’s d shuts down the other teams offense, that’s more than half you need. I am surprised that Brad Stuart is only penciled in as #4, but in any case, Lidstrom, Kronwall, Rafalski, Stuart are as good as it gets and the 3rd pair, Ericsson and Lebda would easily be 3 and 4 on a lesser stacked team, not to forget mentor/teacher Chris Chelios on the bench. All the big winning teams of the past featured at least 3, often 4 world-class d-men. And in this years case, Crosby and Malkin have to step it up big time.

3. Experience
44 rings on the Wings vs. 5 on the Penguins. 5 Detroit players eyeing #5, meaning they were around for repeat #1 in 1998. Most likely, at least Maltby and Draper will have the Ray Bourque-like motivation, one last time before the journey ends. It means experience and previous big time goals on the 3rd and 4th line, something the Penguins don’t have. It means a great core of players that can assimilate newcomers onto message, buying into the goal.

Sure, everything John Buccigross wrote is true, but two super stars just cannot carry the Pens against this Detroit team in a seven game series. Not, when the opponent isn’t bad either.

Addendum: I was 2/4 on the second round and obviously forgot to write down the Conference Finals (but I would have been 2/2 there!). The first two games look good for Detroit but look for the Pens to put up a huge effort and win game 3 clearly. Or not and they can go play golf by the end of the week…