DETROIT Not to sound presumptuous, but are you picking Nicklas Lidstrom or Henrik Zetterberg to be in the lead float (or a freshly-made UAW convertible) for this week's Stanley Cup parade in Detroit?
If you think you missed the decisive game of the Cup finals, relax, because the Red Wings and Penguins play tonight, in what has turned into the Clinton-Obama matchup of puck primaries. If the Stanley Cup turned on superdelegates, then right now Wings coach Mike Babcock would be the guy parked at the bar, surrounded by adoring delegates, every one winking and elbowing each other, tucking stogies in Babcock's hand, their inflated chests stretching wide that Red Wing logo across the front of their souvenir sweaters.
Detroit, after Saturday night's 2-1 win, holds a 3-1 lead in what has turned into a best-of-seven beatdown of a series for the Penguins. Pittsburgh's game has lacked imagination and creativity, which could be a product of coaching and/or inexperience, or simply a lack of talent. Whatever the reason(s), including the likes of their "Lost" co-star Evgeni Malkin the Penguins have been outplayed, outclassed, and profoundly outscored nearly every minute of the series.
Pittsburgh's best stretch came over roughly 20 minutes in Game 3, beginning late in the first period, during which Sidney Crosby banged in a couple of goals that helped pace a 3-2 win. But other than that, the Winged Wheels, even with Tomas Holmstrom (leg injury) sidelined in Game 4, have been airtight on defense and at times mesmerizing and magical when in possession of the puck.
"If you look at the last couple of games, they haven't really got that much, as far as scoring chances," said an optimistic Crosby, an ever-upbeat captain. "And we've done a pretty good job of really limiting their chances. And we've created our own."