by PuckStopsHere on 05/29/09 at 02:38 AM ET
I was correct on both my semi-final predictions, split my second round predictions and went 5-3 in my first round predictions. This gives me an overall 9-5 record in the 2009 playoffs. That isn’t too bad and I am guaranteed no worse than a .600 record in the playoffs even if I miss the finals prediction.
Here it is:
Detroit defeats Pittsburgh This is a re-match of last year’s finals. What has changed in a year? Detroit is a year older. A couple of the players who have made the biggest changes in that year are Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Osgood. Lidstrom has dropped from a should have been MVP defenceman to a Norris nominees who will not win that award. It’s a significant drop, even though he remains a top player in the league. Osgood dropped from a surprise All Star Game player to a horrid regular season. Such is life when you are in the later half of your thirties. Detroit has significant players who are struggling with injuries in Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa.
Another year for Pittsburgh helps their young stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin gain more maturity. Of course they do not have Hossa any more as he is playing on the other team. Pittsburgh is not without key injuries. Star defenceman Sergei Gonchar has been playing hurt.
I don’t think the injury angle is enough to close the gap between these teams. Detroit is too good. They have too many good players. Pittsburgh doesn’t have as good depth. The Penguins are made to look like a better challenger than they are since this is their second finals appearance. I think they likely would not be back if Carolina hadn’t eliminated Boston for them.
It is a final that is easy to market for the NHL. It will be interesting to see if it can live up to its marketing expectation. I think both of these teams are beatable. Pittsburgh more so. As a result, I pick Detroit.
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