Daily News sports staffers make their picks for the Stanley Cup finals, which begin tomorrow night in Detroit.
Penguins in 6: A funny thing happened as Pittsburgh celebrated its sweep of Carolina last round. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby eschewed superstition and passed the Prince of Wales Trophy out among the teammates.
While the gesture will have absolutely nothing to do with slowing down Detroit's potent offense, it is an indication that this is a loose bunch and one that is equipped to give the Big Red Wing Machine a better fight this year.
Detroit in 6: The Wings won the final two games of the semifinals against Chicago without two of the best players in the world, Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. It will be a bit dicier to win an entire series against the Penguins if those two miss games, but the Wings are the NHL's deepest team. Unless either team's goaltending blows up, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg is the key to the series. He needs to be a defensive force against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He will be.
Not yet, Penguins, not yet.
Detroit in 7: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been spectacular and Marc-Andre Fleury is playing championship hockey and the three of them are surrounded by a team ready to avenge their loss last year to Detroit. And considering the injuries to Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, the odds have to be in Pittsburgh's favor to win. But Detroit is a deep and disciplined team with a roster that goes far beyond two injured players. All but two, Marian Hossa and Ty Conklin, have Stanley Cup rings. Both played for Pittsburgh last year and both should get their rings this time.