The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings may be on a Stanley Cup finals collision course again. Both teams won the first games of their respective Conference Championship series’, and seem to have the edge in making it to the finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Carolina Hurricanes’ late charge on Monday to secure win number one. Pens defenseman Phillippe Boucher notched an assist, and his first playoff goal since 2004. Boucher sat for much of the regular season with a foot injury, and only dressed for four of Pittsburgh’s playoff games so far. Boucher made his presence felt in Monday’s game though.
“He’s been ready, he stayed ready and worked hard,” Pens coach Dan Bylsma told the AP’s Alan Robinson. “He didn’t get a lot of minutes, but when he did he cashed in.”
The Red Wings had an easier time than the Penguins, beating the Blackhawks 5-2 on Sunday night. Former Blackhawk Daniel Cleary victimized the team that drafted him, notching a goal at 8:23 to tie the game in the first period, as well as a late goal that put the nail in Chicago’s coffin. “I wasn”t in Chicago very long, so no hard feelings,” Cleary said in a post-game press conference. Detroit’s defense was solid, and netminder Chris Osgood stopped 30 of 32 shots that made it to him. The Red Wings have won 4 of their last 5 games, and seem to have the momentum to carry them to the finals.