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Puck Playoffs for Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 24, 2008 8:00 PM

by Kevin Stott |

Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings (-170, 5½u -120, The Palms) (Versus): Truly must-watch TV, it’s the President’s Cup trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best Stanley Cup finals match-up in years. With so much talent on the ice, the pace will be fast and weird goals will be scored because of it.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the best two players in the series but Detroit possesses one of the deepest rosters in the NHL in a decade. This is a Red Wings team capable of getting that playoff monkey off its back but the East hasn’t sent a team like this Penguins one to the finals in a while.

This Game 1 will come down to expectations, history and the home-ice advantage. Detroit expects to hold on to the advantage gained by earning the NHL’s best overall record over the course of the regular season. History backs them also as the Winged Wheels have won 10-11 and seven of eight postseason games at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit should also get the calls at home, a slight edge if a power play results in a Wings’ tally. Also, Osgood (10-2, 1.60 GAA) is a grisled veteran who has been in the Fiunals before while 21-year-old Fleury (26-4-1 L33, 1.54 GAA) just became legal to drink this year. Of note, Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said on Thursday that Johan "The Mule" Franzen (Team record 12 goals in playoffs) has been cleared to practice but will not play in this opener as he is still recovering from symptoms of a concussion. Babcock said Franzen will return "at some point" of this series. RED WINGS -170.