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NHL on TSN panel projects Red Wings to win Stanley Cup

TSN.ca Staff

10/7/2010 2:20:49 AM

The 2011 Stanley Cup parade will roll down Woodward Avenue next June.

The Detroit Red Wings, led by captain Nicklas Lidstrom and veterans Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, are TSN's consensus choice to win the Cup as revealed in the NHL on TSN Season Preview on Wednesday.

Detroit narrowly edged out the Pittsburgh Penguins, keeping the dynasty (or in this day and age, the closest thing to it) alive in the Motor City.

While they might be getting on in years, the Red Wings added depth up front in the off-season with veteran Mike Modano and returnee Jiri Hudler and they should be among the league's best once again. They finished last season's campaign with 102 points while battling through injuries before coming up short against the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.

"Everything old is new again," explained TSN Insider Bob McKenzie in selecting the Red Wings to capture the Cup. "Zetterberg and Datsyuk are playing together, Franzen and Filppula are healthy, happy, and productive, and maybe it's a last hurrah for Nicklas Lidstrom."

"I agree with Bob McKenzie and I'm going with the Detroit Red Wings," said NHL analyst Pierre McGuire. "They're just too much, well coached, rested, and angry with what happened to them last year in the San Jose series."

For the Penguins' part, the core of the team's championship squad from two seasons ago remains firmly in place. Led by two of the NHL's most talented forwards in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, last season's disappointing early playoff exit should be a turning point for this squad.

Breaking down the 2010-11 regular season, TSN's consensus choices have the Washington Capitals finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference once again. Last year's President's Trophy winners were the NHL's highest-scoring club and are expected to do the same this season.

In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks are TSN's pick to lead the way. Last year's Northwest Division champions bolstered their lineup in the off-season with veteran blueliners Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis. With the Sedin twins and veteran Roberto Luongo in goal, Vancouver's expectations heading into the season are high.

One year removed from the post-season, TSN also projects that the Calgary Flames will be making a playoff appearance this season. Darryl Sutter's club, with prodigal sons Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen up front, appear good enough to secure the eighth and final spot in the West.

The Ottawa Senators are also expected to make the post-season. With Daniel Alfredsson coming off a solid campaign, Jason Spezza poised for a bounceback season and the addition of veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar, the Senators should finish seventh in the East.

TSN's consensus picks also have the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers missing the playoffs, finishing ninth, 13th and 12th in their respective conferences. 

NHL on TSN Consensus

Projected Eastern Conference Standings

1. Washington (Southeast)
2. Pittsburgh (Atlantic)       
3. Boston (Northeast)                     
4. Philadelphia                    
5. New Jersey                     
6. Buffalo                             
7. Ottawa                              
8. Tampa Bay

9. Montreal
10. NY Rangers
11. Carolina
12. Atlanta
13. Toronto
14. Florida
15. Islanders

Projected Western Conference Standings

1. Vancouver (Northwest)            
2. Detroit (Central)              
3. San Jose (Pacific)                      
4. Chicago                          
5. Los Angeles                   
6. St. Louis                          
7. Phoenix                           
8. Calgary

9. Nashville
10. Colorado
11. Anaheim
12. Edmonton
13. Minnesota
14. Dallas
15. Columbus