The path of least resistance?
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It may be a bit early to bring this up, but it's looking more and more every day like the Penguins and Red Wings are on a collision course and will meet in the Stanley Cup final.
The thing that is really striking about these two teams is the relative ease in which they've progressed through the playoffs. Detroit is on the verge of completing its second sweep in a row, and the Penguins have only lost one game in the postseason.
Should both of these teams complete sweeps in the conference finals, they will have combined to play 27 games this postseason (The Penguins would have played 13 and Detroit 14.) That would be the fewest postseason games among any two Cup finalists since the NHL went to the current playoff format of four rounds of seven-game series in 1987.
A look at all the Cup finalists since 1987 and the amount of games each played to reach the final:YearWinning Team (Games To Reach Final)Losing Team (Games to Reach Final)Total Games2007Ducks (16)Senators (15)312006Hurricanes (18)Oilers (17)352004Lightning (18)Flames (19)352003Devils (17)Mighty Ducks (14)312002Red Wings (18)Hurricanes (18)362001Avalanche (16)Devils (18)342000Devils (17)Stars (17)341999Stars (17)Sabres (15)321998Red Wings (18)Capitals (17)351997Red Wings (16)Flyers (15)311996Avalanche (18)Panthers (18)361995Devils (16)Red Wings (14)301994Rangers (16)Canucks (17)331993Canadiens (15)Kings (19)341992Penguins (17)Blackhawks (14)311991Penguins (18)North Stars (17)351990Oilers (17)Bruins (16)331989Flames (16)Canadiens (15)311988Oilers (15)Bruins (16)311987Oilers (14)Flyers (19)33
Yeah, this list is kind of disrespectful to the Stars and especially to the Flyers but we had a Flyers fan write to us yesterday (Someone apparently taught one of them how to use a computer.) accusing us of being anti-Flyers. No duh. That's like is like accusing Nakama of being pro-Japanese food. We just wanted to throw a little bit more gasoline on the fire.
GAME 2 PHOTOS
-We're pretty sure we've seen this Photoshop on The Pensblog. Either way, it's good stuff.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Evgeni Malkin cares not for Philadelphia's free popcorn.
-The Penguins have been relatively healthy.
-Ron Cook says Tyler Kennedy set a tone for Game 2 with his fight against Scottie Upshall.
-The Flyers need to get their swagger back.
-The officials made the right call on Sergei Gonchar's non-goal in Game 2.
-Philadelphia is running out of defensemen.
-Maxime Talbot is popular.
-Is there a "Crosby Conspiracy?"
-The Flyers need a win in Game 3 badly.
-The Flyers have to be more disciplined.
-NHL Ramblings took a crack at live blogging Game 2. Check it out.
-Daniel Briere cared not for Evgeni Malkin's elbow in the back of his head.
-Flyers fans aren't exactly polite.
-The Penguins taking to the ice prior to Game 2:
-Postgame comments after Game 2:
(Whoever asked that question at the 2:17 mark is incredibly brilliant by the way. And handsome. And awesome.)
-Braydon Coburn's injury in Game 2:
-A Flyers fan taught Ray Shero how to drive a stick shift.
-Pavel Datsyuk's first career hat trick lifted the Red Wings to a 5-2 win in Dallas. Detroit has a 3-0 lead in the series.
-The Stars played hard. The Red Wings played smart.
-Stars goaltender Marty Turco looked liked his old non-playoff self.
-Dallas paid for the mistakes it made in Game 3.
-As good as they were offensively, Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were better defensively.
-Stars forwards Stu Barnes and Jere Lehtinen did not play in Game 3 due to injuries.
-Dallas captain Brenden Morrow got dinged up in Game 3.
-The real stars play for Detroit.
-The Stars' power play hasn't been working for them this series.
-The Red Wings have set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive playoff win.
-Detroit forward Johan Franzen is still dealing with a head injury.
-If you want to beat the Red Wings, you better be perfect.
-The ice in Dallas wasn't ideal.
-Does the NHL have a mercy rule?
-It might be safe to assume Detroit will win the Western Conference final.
-The Red Wings haven't even trailed in a game since Game 3 of the Colorado series.
-Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood won his 47th career playoff game and tied the franchise mark set by Terry Sawchuk.
-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski wants the puck.
-Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy leads the AHL playoffs in plus/minus rating.
IIHF World Championships
-Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky had a hat trick for the United States which spanked Norway, 9-1.
-Russia got a goal and an assist from Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin in a 5-3 defeat of Switzerland.
-Senators forward Dany Heatley and Coyotes forward Shane Doan each scored two goals for Canada in a 6-3 win against Finland.
-Forward Peter Regin had two goals for Denmark in a 3-2 defeat of Belarus.
-Germany got 31 saves from Sharks goaltender Dmitrij Patzold in a 5-3 defeat of Latvia.
-You'll be able to send text messages and stuff at the new arena. LOL.
-There's now a movement afoot to get Gary Roberts into the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. (Kudos to EN reader James Rolley for the heads up.)
-The Predators signed forward Martin Erat to a seven-year contract extension.
-The Sharks fired head coach Ron Wilson.
First Published May 13, 2008 8:47 am