The Hawks’ Nest

Stanley Cup Starts Saturday
May 28, 2009, 2:47 pm
Filed under: NHL | Tags:

Predictions haven’t always gone well for me. Among some of the gems I’ve offered over the years:

“If you want a lock for the 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year, it’s Ed O’Bannon.”

“Why would anyone watch a three-hour movie about the Titanic? That’s movie’s going to fail spectacularly.”

“I’m telling you, I think Third Eye Blind has the goods to be around a while. ”

Yeah, not good. So take any predictions found in this space with a grain of salt. Then take that grain of salt, crush it into a fine powder and dump it down a sink.

But this is a hockey blog, and the Stanley Cup starts Saturday, so here goes.

Detroit knocked off Chicago in the West finals yesterday (thereby releasing me from Chelsea Dagger purgatory), and the Red Wings will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row, after taking the Cup 4-2 last season.

It’s tempting to look at Pittsburgh and think they’ll learn from last year and knock off the Wings this time. Crosby and Malkin have been unstoppable, each piling up 28 points in 17 playoff games. For Crosby, his 1.65 points per game is a nice jump from the 1.35 last season. But Malkin’s improvement  has been even greater, going from 1.1 points per game in last year’s playoffs to his 1.65 this season.

But Crosby and Malkin were putting up good numbers through three rounds last year too, until the Penguins were shut out in Games 1 and 2 last year. They never recovered from the 0-2 hole. Malkin in particular struggled throughout the series, managing just three points in the six games.

If Crosby and Malkin continue their torrid pace, then Pittsburgh definitely has a shot at winning this year. But what if Detroit shuts Malkin down again, or Crosby?

Consider that there’s a 14-point gap between Crosby and Malkin and Pittsburgh’s third-leading scorer. Meanwhile, there’s only a five-point gap between Detroit’s first and third-leading scorers.

So if Detroit contains Malkin, or Crosby, where does the secondary scoring come from?

With that in mind, it says here that Detroit wins in 6 again.

And if they don’t, then at least it won’t be the worst prediction I ever made.


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