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Kostya Kennedy's Breakdown
Colorado    Detroit 
The development of rookie Alex Tanguay adds to an impressive group that includes sophomores Chris Drury and the dynamic Milan Hejduk, as well as the league's best 1-2 punch at center -- Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg -- and the league's most talented offensive defenseman, Sandis Ozolinsh. There are so many big-time scorers on this team it's hard to know who to stop.  OFFENSE

The Edge:

The Wings have elite puck-potters in Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov, and their depth is even more impressive. Watch for players like nettlesome Pat Verbeek, speedy Kris Draper and bullish Tomas Holmstrom to contribute. 

Raymond Bourque has brought some stability to the blueliners. Expect he and Adam Foote to get a lot of minutes. Past Bourque and Foote, defense is not a strength.  DEFENSE

The Edge:

A well-rested and veteran group. Nicklas Lidstrom and Larry Murphy may be the best pair in the league and like Lidstrom, Chris Chelios is a Norris Trophy candidate. The Wings' defense really clamps down late. 

Expect Patrick Roy to make some spectacular third-period saves and to fire up the Avalanche with his play. This is his time to thrive -- in a big series against a dangerous opponent -- and he will be as unflappable as always.   IN GOAL

The Edge:

Osgood was good for much of the first round against the Kings. He's underrated because he's susceptible to the soft goal, but when he's on, which he usually is, he's tough to beat. 

Ozolinsh can be very intimidating with room to skate and the Avalanche's many dynamic players get a boost from veteran center Dave Andreychuk who is still a force at the goal-mouth.   PP

The Edge:

This is where Yzerman's diverse talents shine as he plays the point superbly on the first power play unit. Coach Scotty Bowman likes to use a lot of different looks on the power play and he has many effective players to work with. 

Bourque and Foote will play integral roles and Sakic can be a superb penalty killer as well. Expect the Avalanche to mix combinations to meet the Wings' many set-ups.  PK

The Edge:

With Lidstrom and Murphy going out first and the tenacious Chelios leading the second unit, Detroit can be impenetrable. That's what they were in the first round as the Kings went 0-for-23 with the man advantage. 

Bob Hartley has done an excellent job of merging the Avalanche's never-ending influx of young talent with his veteran, star-studded group. After a tricky start last year, he has won his players over.   COACH

The Edge:

Bowman was in fine, irascible form in the first round, carping to team and league officials whenever anything went awry with the daily schedule. The meticulous taskmaster remains the best in the biz. 

The presence of the incomparable Bourque, who is looking for his first Stanley Cup has energized the locker room. Everyone from the veterans to the rookies hold him in special awe.   INTANGIBLES

The Edge:

Is this Bowman's last stand? It may be. He's 66 and has battled health problems in recent years. But the guy can't win enough Stanley Cups. He wants another. 

Forsberg is back from a late-season injury and he had a big goal in Game 5 against the Coyotes. If he's Peter the Great, the Avalanche will be too.   X-FACTOR

The Edge:

Last season Detroit fell apart after Osgood got hurt. This year a healthy Ozzie could well turn the series the other way. 
Kennedy's Prediction: Detroit in 6

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