A few years ago I went to Detroit to do a story on Henrik Zetterberg.
It was on that trip that Steve Yzerman, now an executive with the Red Wings and their inspirational leader for three Stanley Cup championships, told me the Wings were now Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk’s team.
There was no question Zetterberg and Datsyuk were the Wings best forwards, but did they have what it takes to lead a team to a Stanley Cup championship?
We will find out in the next three weeks.
One thing is certain, after a few playoff disappointments and some skepticism about Datsyuk’s horrible start to his post-season career, they are now big-time money players and the Pittsburgh Penguins will have their hands full trying to contain them.
Datsyuk, who once went 26 straight playoff games without scoring, has nine goals this season, all of them scored on the road.
Of course the Penguins have their own deadly duo in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the Red Wings checkers to be concerned with.
Give the Dallas Stars credit. After falling behind 3-0 in the Western Conference final, they threw a little scare into the Red Wings. And even though they lost, Stars goalie Marty Turco exorcised his demons finally winning a game as a pro at The Joe. It is safe to say Turco is now a dependable playoff goaltender after some years of concern.
There was little doubt Monday night who would win Game 6. The Red Wings came out flying and the Stars looked like they finally hit the wall.
The game, for all intents and purposes, was decided in the first period when Detroit roared into a 3-0 lead. While the players Detroit counts on for goals came through, the Stars’ top threats – Brad Richards, Mike Modano and Mike Ribeiro – were silenced.
Ribeiro, in particular, had a poor conference final series after two solid rounds.
Referees Marc Joannette and Brad Watson did their best to get the Stars back into the game with numerous questionable calls against the Red Wings in the second and third periods, but it wasn’t to be.
In the end, the best team won and now we can settle in for what has the potential to be the best Stanley Cup final since the Rangers beat the Canucks in seven games in 1994.
THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the night's action, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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