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Why the Red Wings can win the Cup

Thursday, 04.30.2009 / 12:23 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale
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Why the Red Wings can win the Cup
Their roster consists of an assortment of perennial All-Stars and NHL Award winners. Their coach has led the team to four straight 50-plus win seasons, they can play a speed game or exhibit some muscle in the trenches and they are the defending Stanley Cup champion.

Do you need any further proof why the Red Wings shouldn't be considered this year's favorite to again raise the most coveted trophy in sports?

Puck control and a deep bench are the common denominators that fuel the Red Wings each postseason and this spring is no different. They had three defensemen in the top 11 in scoring among the League's defensive leaders during the regular season in Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall and each registered a goal in their opening-round sweep over Columbus.

Their goalie, Chris Osgood, appears to have found his groove in these playoffs with a 4-0 record, 1.75 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. During the Wings’ Stanley Cup run last season, Osgood posted similar numbers -- sporting a 1.55 GAA and .930 save percentage. He has the good fortune, of course, of playing behind an extremely mobile defensive unit that makes life miserable for opposing forwards with their shutdown mentality.

In addition to the aforementioned players along the blue line, the hard-hitting Brad Stuart (11 hits), Brett Lebda and first-year playoff performer Jonathan Ericsson have thrived under coach Mike Babcock's approach. Their power-play is tops in the playoffs, hitting at a 31.8 percent efficiency with seven goals in 22 opportunities.

With Pavel Datsyuk (10 hits), Henrik Zetterberg (team-leading three goals), Valtteri Filppula and Darren Helm (team-leading 17 hits) centering the top four lines, the Wings are deep down the middle. Johan Franzen leads the club with six points in four postseason matches. Dan Cleary (plus-6 rating, 16 hits) has already surpassed his playoff total of last season (3 points) in 18 fewer games and Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom (2 goals on 2 shots this postseason) will continue to add to their legacy in Hockeytown.

"They play like old dogs, just waiting for things to come and then taking advantage," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They're capable of bottling you up through the neutral zone and they play extremely smart because they have a lot of experience. Experience allows you to be patient and in position during critical situations. They've learned these lessons over time."







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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89