Pittsburgh leads series, 2-0 Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick including two third period goals and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4 Thursday night to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. A display of world class talent and up and down hockey was front and center as the teams combined for five goals in the first period.
The Carolina Hurricanes are in a 0-2 hole in the Eastern Conference Finals as they head home to Raleigh for a must win situation Saturday night. 229 times a road team has fallen into a 0-2 hole in a series and only 22 times have teams come back to win a series in that situation. The odds are against the Hurricanes and their biggest concern is finding a way to neutralize the Penguins dynamic 1-2 punch down the middle in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin took his game to a next level Thursday night, recording a hat trick and an assist as the Hurricanes had no answer on how to slow down Malkin from the drop of the puck. Malkin credits his mom’s home cooking for his strong play as his parents are in Pittsburgh for the duration of the playoffs. The NHL scoring champion has surpassed hisRead More »
When the Penguins moved to an up-tempo system under head coach Dan Bylsma, the difference was putting a strong emphasis on being aggressive in the neutral zone and quicker movement in their transition game. Where the Penguins believe they can exploit the Hurricanes is through a quick transition game tonight. The Penguins managed 31 shots on goal in game 1, slightly under their average against the Capitals. Because of how aggressive the Hurricanes are on the fore-check, the Penguins see an opportunity that if they can counter the Hurricanes aggressive fore-check with a quick transition game, it will lead to scoring chances and odd-man rushes. This is a reason the Penguins put a strong emphasis on their transition game in film sessions and in Wednesday’s practice. What to watch for in tonight’s game is a play where Kris Letang fires the puck off the boards in the defensive zone withRead More »
Morning Skate Updates Pittsburgh The Penguins just concluded their morning skate as the team prepares for game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The top four lines were the same with Pascal Dupuis working in with Craig Adams and Miroslav Satan. Head Coach Dan Bylsma will make a game time decision on whether he will dress seven defensemen tonight. Sergei Gonchar is nearing full health and played just under 22 minutes in game 1. That will go into Dan Bylsma’s thinking. Carolina Hurricanes The Hurricanes just took the ice and Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Cole is skating and it appears he will give it a go for tonight’s game. Cole is skating with Matt Cullen and Chad Larose. I’m told that Cole’s skating, lateral movement looks good and unless he suffers a setback this afternoon, expect to see Cole in the lineup. Tuomo Ruutu is not skating and team officials haveRead More »
The Carolina Hurricanes were a confident team following Monday’s 3-2 loss and with two days off, they will look at the positives from game 1. After Pittsburgh dictated the play in the 1st period, jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Hurricanes were able to weather the storm and play even with the Penguins for the final 40 minutes. After Joe Corvo cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Hurricanes were a puck bouncing off of Eric Staal’s stick in front of a wide open net from forcing over-time. The goaltending matchup was nearly even with Marc Andre Fleury one up on Cam Ward. Two concerns for the Hurricanes going into game 2 1. Secondary Scoring – Relying on Eric Staal to carry the Hurricanes offensively will not get it done against the Penguins. Staal does not have a top flightRead More »
Two key forwards, Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Cole each suffered injuries in Carolina’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh Penguins in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Ruutu was injured in the 1st period and did not return to the game. We’re told he suffered an ankle injury and will likely be held off the ice for the next couple days. The Hurricanes will practice Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. Winger Eric Cole who is scoreless in the post-season suffered a knee injury in a collision with Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice was angry after the game, believed Cooke should have been called for a penalty and claimed it was a “knee-to-knee” hit. Cook defended himself calling
Marc Andre Fleury made 23 saves and Miroslav Satan, Philippe Boucher each scored their first goal of the playoffs as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 Monday night at Mellon Arena to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pittsburgh got off to a strong start in the first period setting the tone early and striking first. Winger Miroslav Satan jumped out of the penalty box, and went in all alone on goaltender Cam Ward beating Ward with a backhand goal at 9:17 of the first period to put the Penguins up 1-0 in the first.
Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has been viewed as a scapegoat in Washington after being booed the home crowd in Wednesday’s 6-2 loss against the Penguins. Green who is the most dynamic offensive defenseman in the game, scored 31 goals ( 73 points in 69 games) during the regular season but was a non-factor against Pittsburgh, finishing the series with four assists and a plus/minus rating of -5. What the Penguins did against Washington was make Mike Green play defense. Pittsburgh won the puck possession game and they were attacking offensively at every opportunity they could get. Green is like a extra forward on the ice and he was taking out of his comfort zone against Pittsburgh. The Penguins were able to neutralize Green, and they will look to do the same against Hurricanes puck moving defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Pitkanen is not the same kind of elite player offensively thatRead More »
Carolina Hurricanes goaltending coach Tom Barrasso is credited for Cam Wards turnaround this season but following the All-Star break, head coach Paul Maurice handed the penalty kill duties to Barrasso and the Canes have seen instant results. The Canes moved to an aggressive (PK)forecheck with an strong emphasis on pressuring at all times. They are very aggressive and the Hurricanes are 49-for-54 on the penalty kill in the playoffs and limited the Bruins high octane power play to only two goals in the entire series. It has caught many by surprise that Barrasso has had an instrumental on Cam Ward after Barrasso was regarded as a horrible teammate to younger goaltenders when playing with the Penguins, but his role with the Hurricanes penalty kill is a prime reason why the Hurricanes have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Rod Brind’Amour probable to play in Game 1 The Hurricanes have announcedRead More »
Western Conference Playoff Reports First all-California playoff series since 1969, between the Sharks & Ducks and it will be the first in-state postseason matchup in the NHL, NBA or Major League Baseball since 2002, when the Angels and San Francisco played in the World Series. No NHL team has won more playoff rounds (6) than the Ducks and Detroit since the 2005-06 season. The Columbus Blue Jackets could have forward Fredrik Modin in the lineup as early as Game 1 according to Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch. Monday’s Lines in practice according to the Dispatch Kristian Huselius — Manny Malhotra — Rick Nash R.J. Umberger — Antoine Vermette — Jake Voracek Raffi Torres — Jason Williams — Derek Dorsett Jason Chimera — Michael Peca/Jiri Novotny — Fredrik Modin Alexandre Picard — Derick Brassard/Chris Gratton — Nikita Filatov Defensemen Jan Hejda — Mike Commodore Fedor Tyutin — Rostislav Klesla KrisRead More »