A fourth Stanley Cup win in 11 years doesn’t seem like a dynasty, but considering that Detroit is never not in contention for a cup, it just seems that way. Call them the Spurs of the NHL, but that would probably be mildly unfair, as the Red Wings’ top lines and play is nothing if not exciting.
Henrik Zetterberg may have won the Conn Smythe (and deserved it), but so much of the series was about the redemption of Chris Osgood, who started the playoffs on the bench behind Dominik Hasek. He had returned to Detroit after leaving the nest to test his own mettle, and things hadn’t gone so well. He dominated Games 1 and 2 in goal at Joe Louis, setting the template for the Red Wings to be able to get a split on the road. (If Detroit won in Game 5, I suspect Osgood would have had the Conn Smythe.) From somehow keeping Marian Hossa out of the goal at the end to his work in the earlier rounds, it was great work.
Meanwhile, it’s not much of a stretch to suggest the Penguins will be back again in the Cup finals sometime soon, with a team that is learning how to put that final touch on winning. The drive is there — we saw it in that marathon Game 5 — but they have to keep building on the effort put forth in those games.
For an impartial observer, the only thing better for this series would have been a Game 7.
Photo:: AP/David Sandford