Search

Why the Wings Will Win SI special contributor Pierre McGuire sees deeply talented Detroit blowing past the upstart Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup finals

June 10, 2002
June 10, 2002

Table of Contents
June 10, 2002

Golf Plus

Why the Wings Will Win SI special contributor Pierre McGuire sees deeply talented Detroit blowing past the upstart Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup finals

Detroit dictates the pace of the game better than any other team
in the league, and that will hurt the Hurricanes, who prefer to
clog the neutral zone and slow down the opposition.... One of
the major reasons Carolina is in the finals is its man-to-man
defense, which does an excellent job of taking away time and
space down low. The aggressive Red Wings, however, are masters
at picking off defenders in the cycle game, which will break
down the Hurricanes' defense and lead to scoring
opportunities.... Look for the Wings to incorporate their
blueliners, such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Duchesne and Fredrik
Olausson, into their offense as much as possible to pressure the
Carolina defense.... The Red Wings' forwards are the best group
ever assembled, and Detroit could get scoring from each line....
This is the first time in the playoffs that the Hurricanes' top
face-off men (Ron Francis and Rod Brind'Amour had won 58% of
their postseason draws) might not dominate in that category;
Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov had won 55% of their playoff
face-offs.... Carolina must get more offense from its BBC
line--Brind'Amour, Bates Battaglia and Erik Cole--than it
produced in the conference finals (no goals). Expect physical
defenseman Chris Chelios and grinding wing Kirk Maltby to match
up against Cole, a power forward. Meanwhile, smooth defensemen
Lidstrom and Olausson will face the Hurricanes' top line of
Francis, Jeff O'Neill and Sami Kapanen, all finesse players....
Dominik Hasek has gotten better in each playoff round, finishing
the conference finals with consecutive shutouts against the
Avalanche.... Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe loves to challenge
shooters, a tactic that plays into the hands of the experienced
Wings. Expect Irbe to find himself out of position at times and
to see that exploited by Detroit, which is more patient with the
puck than any other team in the NHL. Don't be surprised if
backup netminder Kevin Weekes plays in the series.... Hurricanes
coach Paul Maurice had a difficult time when the Maple Leafs
matched lines in Game 5 of the Eastern finals--things will get
tougher against the master, Scotty Bowman.... Special teams
usually play an important role in the playoffs, but don't expect
that to be the case in this series. The Wings and the Hurricanes
are disciplined and rarely take unnecessary penalties. When
Carolina does have the power play, it must be wary of the
aggressive Detroit penalty killers, especially Fedorov and
Yzerman. Prediction: Wings in four.

This is an article from the June 10, 2002 issue Original Layout