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Penguins happy to face Red Wings sooner rather than later

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By Mike Prisuta
Friday, May 29, 2009

"Let's go Red Wings."

That was a cry that could be heard at Joe Louis Arena during Game 5 of the Western Conference final, and, apparently, wherever the Penguins watched Detroit eliminate Chicago with a 2-1 win in overtime.

Had the Red Wings lost, the Stanley Cup final wouldn't have started until June 5.

Now the Penguins and Red Wings will play Game 1 on Saturday night in Detroit.

"I think (Wednesday night) was probably the only night we were cheering for Detroit, rather than getting 10 days off," Penguins D Brooks Orpik said. "I think it's good for the league, too."

The Penguins prefer the way things worked out, particularly considering that Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom, C Pavel Datsyuk, C Kris Draper and D Jonathan Ericsson all missed Game 5 against Chicago due to injury.

"Huge advantage," Orpik said. "You want to catch them when they're beat up. I think the Anaheim series took a big toll on them. They have guys out of the lineup, and I'm sure a lot of guys that are in the lineup, probably, if it was the regular season, wouldn't be playing."

Orpik described the Penguins as "relatively healthy, probably not as healthy as everyone thinks we are."

Added Orpik: "Compared to Detroit, we're a lot healthier, that's for sure. We've gotten pretty lucky with injuries."

RW Bill Guerin also saw a benefit to playing again relatively quickly after the Penguins completed their sweep of Carolina in the Eastern Conference final.

"We didn't want the time off," he said. "We want to play. We don't want to sit around for 10 days without a game."

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