If game 1 is any indication, the Eastern Conference Finals will be goalie duel between Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward.
There has been a lot of talk going into the series that the Hurricanes hold a significant advantage in goal as Ward is a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner and has never lost a playoff series.
As Fleury showed in last year’s second round series against New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, he is up to the task of matching another marquee goaltender save for save.
Fleury made 23 saves in Pittsburgh’s Game 1 win but it was the timely saves that garnered Fleury praise after the game.
“Fleury came up with some timely saves early to settle them down and give them the opportunity to get going, and once they get going they’re a very quick team,” Ward said.
“Unbelievable performance. He’s been there all year for us,” Matt Cooke said.
Fleury was aggressive in the net and his positioning was sound. He was taking away angles and any time the Hurricanes had prime scoring chances in the slot, Fleury was out at the top of crease forcing them to pick corners.
Cam Ward made 28 saves and also put on a strong performance. It is believed the winner of this series may get a leg up on winning a spot on Team Canada’s roster in the 2010 Olympics.
For Carolina, they need Cam Ward to be dominate every night to win this series, whereas Pittsburgh just needs Fleury to make timely saves and play close to even with Ward.
For one night, Fleury matched Cam Ward and is the goaltending advantage really that far of a gap in Carolina’s favor?
Satan scores 1st goal of the playoffs, see’s increased playing time.
Miroslav Satan has made the most of his opportunity since being called up from Wilkes Barre, and after recording four assists in the Washington series, Satan scored his first goal of the playoffs in game 1 of the East Finals on a breakaway goal at 9:17 of the first period.
Satan who has expressed a strong interest in playing in the NHL next season, (according to his agent Allan Walsh) could land in
New Jersey during the off-season. The Devils pursued Satan at the 2007 trade deadline and offered him a 1 year deal worth $3.1 million this past summer.
The Devils have had quite a few advanced scouts in the building during the playoffs and I’m told they will give Satan a look in free agency.
Penguins having success dressing seven defensemen
Dan Bylsma is not a fan of dressing seven defensemen but the Penguins are 3-1 when playing seven defensemen and it’s something that is growing on the Penguins coaching staff.
Until Sergei Gonchar is 100% healthy, he is improving everyday but he has a severe upper right leg contusion and any time he takes a hit he suffers some kind of discomfort, playing seven defensemen is the right coaching decision.
Philippe Boucher who got the nod over Pascal Dupuis as Bylsma opted to go with seven D, had a goal, and an assist in the Penguins 3-2 win. Only dressing seven defensemen has also lead to extra shifts for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
Malkin joins Crosby in the 20 point club
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to give him 21 pts in the playoffs. He also had 6 shots on goal and was a force at both ends of the ice. Malkin is now one point behind teammate Sidney Crosby. The games top duo has combined for 43 points in the playoffs.
Crosby’s 1 assist Monday night gives his points in 16 of 18 playoffs games.
The Penguins scratched Petr Sykora, Eric Godard, Pascal Dupuis and Alex Goligoski. None of the Penguins five callups from Wilkes Barre, participated in the Penguins morning skate on Monday.
Cole injured on Matt Cooke hit
Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice was not happy following game. Forward Eric Cole suffered a knee injury in what Maurice believes was a knee-to-knee hit by Matt Cooke
Maurice indicated after the game that Cole will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning.