Most of the people who are saying something about the match-up are quick to bring up the fact that Detroit and Pittsburgh haven’t met at all this season, so there’s no way to tell how things are going to go. (except that Detroit has faced tougher teams to make it here)
They compare offensive stats, and it’s a pretty close match-up.
They compare defensive stats, and Detroit kicks Pittsburgh’s butt.
Too bad they haven’t met in over 19 months, so we can highlight a recent competition between the two.
Oh wait….they have. Twice actually.
During this seasons’ pre-season action…the teams met each other in exhibition games. The first one wasn’t much to talk about. It was early in the pre-season, both teams were just warming up. Both used 2nd-string goalies, and just warmed up. Detroit won 1-0.
But the second game, Pittsburgh’s pre-season home opener, says something. Detroit had most of their lead players pulled, saving their strength for the first games of the regular season. Pittsburgh had ALL their best players on the ice, showing them off in front of a home crowd.
I’ll highlight again, just so you see. Detroit was missing all their best players. (all are still on the team) Pittsburgh had all their best players on the ice. (all are still on the team, plus Hossa) Detroit won a decisive victory that night, 5-2.
Detroit won in shots on goal, penalties (and killing), dominated faceoffs, and even scored a short-handed goal.
Granted, both teams are better today than they were then. But remember – those stats are with Detroit missing Helm, Cleary, Datsuk, Lebda, Drake, Chelios, Rafalski, Kopecky, Franzen, and Holmstrom.
Needless to say. I’m saying Detroit wins the cup. Game On.