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Prediction: Wings-Capitals in Cup Finals

Wednesday, 10.6.2010 / 9:28 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer
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Prediction: Wings-Capitals in Cup Finals
The Chicago Blackhawks are good enough to win the Stanley Cup again and it wouldn't be shocking if they did. The Philadelphia Flyers have enough talent, especially on the back end, to come out of the Eastern Conference again. Henrik Sedin can definitely win another Hart Trophy and Duncan Keith another Norris Trophy.

Will they?

It's doesn't look like it right now. What will happen?

Well ...

Your 2011 Western Conference champion will be ... the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings may be the league's elder statesmen, but when healthy they may very well have the best balance of skillful two-way forwards, defensemen that can still get up and down the ice, and a goalie in a contract year who wants to show his 37 wins from last season were no fluke. Detroit had 102 points last season and was battered by injuries. The Wings had a longer than usual summer when you consider they were knocked out in the second round, and now they're all healthy.

Your 2011 Eastern Conference champion will be ... the Washington Capitals.

Never underestimate the power of motivation and hunger. The Capitals have both in spades after blowing a 3-1 lead and losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round last spring. Alex Ovechkin is motivated only to win the Stanley Cup and the rest of the Capitals have his back in a big way. There are questions in goal with 22-year-old Europeans Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov ready to split the duties, perhaps right down the middle. However, Varlamov has Stanley Cup playoff experience (success, too) and Neuvirth has won back-to-back Calder Cups in the AHL. The Capitals will finally prove they are for real.

Your 2011 Stanley Cup champion will be ... the Detroit Red Wings

Health appears to be the only thing that can deter the Wings from putting one more notch on their belt and keeping this dynasty alive another year. Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano and Brian Rafalski might be on the tail end of fantastic careers, but they can still play at a high level. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary, Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Jimmy Howard are all in their primes.

Your 2011 Hart Trophy winner will be ... Steven Stamkos


The revamped Lightning will be improved and Stamkos, who is stronger after a summer working out with renowned fitness guru Gary Roberts, will be able to build on his remarkable sophomore season. That's saying something considering the 20-year-old from Markham, Ont. was the co-Rocket Richard winner with 51 goals last season, but he's coming into his prime, has one of the best one-timers in the business and he should find even more space now because he worked extensively this summer on his core and his legs to make them more powerful.

Your 2011 Norris Trophy winner will be ... Chris Pronger

We know he's coming off surgery and he's getting up there in age, but if you watched Pronger in the playoffs last season you know where we're coming from with this pick. This guy has still got one, two or maybe even three more seasons left at his elite status before maybe he starts to fall off. This one ought to be one of his best. A trip to the Stanley Cup Final, built largely on Pronger's long stick, is enough to convince us that the guy can be even better this season. His resume was respected by his teammates when he arrived, but now they know the guy is the real deal for many other reasons. 

Your 2011 Vezina Trophy winner will be ... Ryan Miller

The Sabres goalie will go back-to-back as a winner of this award because he will again prove that he's the most consistent goaltender in the League. Miller will play close to 70 games, win upwards of 40 with a goals-against average under 2.50 and a save percentage better than .915. And the Sabres will make the playoffs, perhaps even by winning the Northeast Division again, because of their goaltender who happens to be their biggest star.

Your 2011 Calder Trophy winner will be ... Magnus Paajarvi

The attention is going to go to Edmonton teammate Taylor Hall and Boston center Tyler Seguin, and perhaps also to Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban and Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. However, it'll be Paajarvi that steps out and has a better season than all of them because he may be more suited for immediate NHL success. He played a full season in the Swedish Elite League last season and then made the World Championship all-tournament team with 9 points in nine games. Paajarvi's power off his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame will be his greatest asset.

For an alternative viewpoint, be sure to check out the EA Sports NHL 11 Season Preview show on NHL.com.




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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59