Pens heading to Cup, Wings next?

The Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Finals after beating the Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday night and sweeping the best of seven Eastern Conference Finals series. The Pens will now await the winner of the Blackhawks-Red Wings series, which Detroit currently leads 3-1.

After battling the Capitals for seven games in the semifinals, some pundits believed that the Penguins might be worn down for their series against the Canes. But Pittsburgh put those doubts to rest when it took the first two games on its home ice and then crushed the Canes 6-2 in Carolina in Game 3. Game 4 Tuesday night turned out to just be a formality as Carolina struggled offensively.

Now the Pens will wait to see if the Red Wings can finish off the Blackhawks tonight at Joe Lewis Arena. If Chicago plays as bad tonight as it did in Game 4 on Sunday, then the Stanley Cup Finals could kickoff this weekend.

Making matters worse for the Blackhawks, the Wings could get both Nicklas Lindstrom and Pavel Datsyuk back from injury tonight. Detroit coach Mike Babock won’t make a decision on their playing status until each get the opportunity to skate in pregame, but chances are both players will be on the ice tonight.

If the Wings do finish off the Hawks, they would set up a rematch of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, in which they beat the Penguins in six games. Some hockey fans wanted to see a new matchup, but it’s hard to beat the drama that comes from watching Sidney Crosby try to take on the juggernaut that continues to be the Detroit Red Wings.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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