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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Updated: April 21, 6:32 PM ET
Breakdown: Flames vs. Red Wings

By Brian Engblom
Special to

The Red Wings just have too much balance. They can roll four lines effectively while the Flames have a huge offensive dropoff after their top line. Detroit also has a wealth of veteran players with playoff experience in every situation, and with so many varied weapons the Wings get the advantage.

Robert Lang
Lang is still relatively new to the lineup after missing a significant portion of his time in Detroit with a rib injury, but he leads the team with six points in the playoffs and looks to be getting better with more time in the rotation.
Jarome Iginla
No doubt about it. Iginla is the Flames' captain and best player and almost singlehandedly won Game 7 of the Vancouver series. He is an outstanding player and a national audience will finally get to see just how good he is.
Detroit power play vs. Calgary penalty kill
Detroit can give an opponent many different looks and so many different players can contribute, but the Red Wings struggled against Nashville. Still, the Calgary penalty kill ranks No. 14 in the postseason and the Wings just have so many weapons that it's hard to see them being held down much longer.

Calgary power play vs. Detroit penalty kill
Calgary's power play scored a big goal to win the Vancouver series but did not make the most of the 40 opportunities it was given -- the most of any team in the first round -- while Detroit killed 28 of 29 penalties against Nashville and even got a shorthanded goal against the Predators.

Miikka Kiprusoff was a bit inconsistent for the Flames at times in the first round, but the bottom line is his team won the series and he had a lot to do with that. Curtis Joseph may still be trying to find his game after playing only two full games in the first round and not facing a lot of shots in those two starts, so Kiprusoff gets a slight edge.

Calgary's Darryl Sutter gets the edge simply because he has much more playoff experience than his counterpart Dave Lewis. The Flames don't have the talent Detroit does, but Sutter has been in the second round before and Lewis has not, so Sutter gets the edge when it comes to making decisions in pressure situations.

The extra rest Detroit got by finishing off Nashville on April 17 is a big advantage. Calgary and Vancouver played by all accounts the most physical first-round series this year, including a triple-OT affair in Game 6, and they are showing the kinds of bumps and bruises that could put guys out of the lineup.

Detroit in five.