The popular theory is that the Penguins are older, smarter and more resilient than last year, when they were outclassed by a far superior Detroit team.
Meanwhile, Detroit is hurting. Lidstrom and Datsyuk missed the end of the Chicago series, and Marian Hossa limped away from the last game.
In spite of their troubles, the Red Wings looked better than ever in dispatching the Blackhawks. This is one deep team.
There's more to the Penguins then Crosby and Malkin, but not that much more. Detroit doesn't rely on anyone the way Pittsburgh relies on its top two.
Stopping Sid and Geno - as the fans and broadcasting sycophants know them - is unlikely.
But if you can at least limit those two, Pittsburgh turns into a fairly ordinary team.
The Red Wings are tailor-made for the challenge.
Detroit's team defense is far superior to Pittsburgh's, even if Lidstrom and Datsyuk aren't available. Crosby and Malkin will break through at times, but won't get enough help to do serious damage.
When the stars rest and the game is handed off to second and third lines, the Red Wings will have a clear advantage.
There were times this season when Detroit looked vulnerable. No more. The Wings are playing close to their best, and that's much better than any other team can muster.
Crosby and Malkin will get their points, and the Pittsburgh power play will have its moments.
But it looks like Marian Hossa made the right choice by swapping Penguin blue for Red Wing red last summer.
Red Wings in Six
2009 Playoff Prediction Record: 12-2
(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)