Stanley Cup Finals Preview From WhatIfSports.com image

Stanley Cup Finals Preview
BtB looks at the results of 10,000 simulations of the NHL Finals
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
May 20th, 2008

If the WhatIfSports.com super computer, which is on a roll after giving Detroit and Pittsburgh the first and third best chances of making the Stanley Cup Finals respectively (not to mention correctly picking the NCAA tournament Final Four, Championship and Champion), is correct, Hockeytown USA will be celebrating with Lord Stanley after just five games. We have simulated the Stanley Cup Finals between the Red Wings and Penguins 10,000 times in order to determine the likelihood of either team winning it all. Despite Pittsburgh's young talent and playoff momentum, the experienced, deep and very well-rounded Red Wings come out on top 68% of the time, with the most common occurrence a five game series where the Penguins get a win in their first home game.

What follows is an example Stanley Cup Finals based on the results of those simulations, which includes boxscores, play-by-play and stats for each game in the series. Click on the links after each summary to see the entire breakdown of the game.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 1
Pittsburgh 1 @ Detroit 3 - Mikael Samuelsson scores twice and chips in with an assist, while Osgood and the best group of defensemen in the league shut the Penguins down. Led by Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit also dominates faceoffs, winning a remarkable 73.8% for the game. The three stars in Game 1 are Samuelsson, Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

Stanley Cup Finals Game 2
Pittsburgh 1 @ Detroit 4 - Detroit's dominance in Joe Louis Arena continues with three new stars shining brightly. Defenseman Brian Rafalski, goalie Chris Osgood and forward Valterri Filppula earn honors in Game 2. Rafalski scores on a one-timer past substitute goalie Ty Conklin to ice the game late in the third. Again, the lone Penguins' goal is scored by Petr Sykora from Pittsburgh's second line - not one of the top names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Marian Hossa.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

Stanley Cup Finals Game 3
Detroit 0 @ Pittsburgh 3 - The Penguins get on the board for the series in Game 3 from Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury, who had been replaced in the first two games of the series, shuts out the vaunted Red Wings' attack. Pittsburgh's offense responds with three goals - two from Ryan Malone and one from Marian Hossa that is assisted by Sidney Crosby. As one would expect from a 3-0 shutout, all of the three stars, Fleury, Malone and Evgeni Malkin, are Penguins. Interestingly, nine different players have been among the first three games' three stars.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

Stanley Cup Finals Game 4
Detroit 1 @ Pittsburgh 0 - The most pivotal game of the series, Pittsburgh has countless opportunities to at least tie the game after Henrik Zetterberg's goal just 13 seconds into the game, yet the Penguins cannot get the puck past Chris Osgood. For the final 59 minutes and 47 seconds of the game, Marc-Andre Fleury is stellar, but his team lets him down. For a series that could have easily been 2-2, the teams head back to Detroit with the Red Wings just one victory away from the Cup. The two goalies, Osgood and Fleury, and the lone goal scorer, Zetterberg, earn three star honors.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

Stanley Cup Finals Game 5
Pittsburgh 3 @ Detroit 4 - The decisive close game ends with the more experienced team skating around its home ice carrying the Stanley Cup Trophy as Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk's goal in the fifth minute of overtime ends this series. Even after the disappointment of Game 4, Pittsburgh comes out swinging in Game 5, eventually taking a 3-0 lead going into the third period. But, Detroit answers with three goals over a five minute stretch late in the period to tie the game. Pittsburgh manages just three shots on goal in the overtime, while Detroit bombards Marc-Andre Fleury with seven shots until the goal by Datsyuk sneaks through. Chris Osgood, Fleury and Henrik Zetterberg earn the three stars, though both teams shine in this epic. Osgood is also awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP. Over 18 games, the goalie wins 14, allowing just 28 goals.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

We hope that you enjoy our Beyond the Boxscore feature. As with all of our free features, games and content we are willing to listen to feedback and improve this page and content to make it as interesting and user-friendly as possible. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, please contact Customer Support. Thanks!

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