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GM Hockey » All things PLAYOFFS! » SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES

SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES

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PENS VS CANES SCP EAST FINAL '09: WHO WINS? HOW MANY GAMES?

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wprager


Administrator
Administrator
SensFan71 wrote:game 3 is do or die for the Canes, don't think they are done yet, too much never say die in the Canes for that yet. home ice will prove to be nicer to them.

No, it's not over yet, for sure, but now that the finals are just two more wins away I expect Sid to match Malkin's domination in one of the next two games. I expect a split in Carolina and then the Canes have to win three in a row. That's not going to happen with a chance at the Cup on the line.

davetherave


All-Star
All-Star
The view from Raleigh today:

Canes need to redefine series

Raleigh News & Observer, Chip Alexander, May 22 2009

PITTSBURGHThere still a lot of hockey to be played in the Eastern Conference finals, but there already have been two defining moments.

In Game 1, the Canes' Eric Staal missed an open net in the final 30 seconds that would have tied the score and possibly forced overtime. Staal rarely misses an opportunity like that but he did that time. The Penguins' won 3-2.

In Game 2, the Pens led 5-4, in another tight game at Mellon Arena, when there was a faceoff in the Carolina zone. Moments later, it was 6-4 after Evgeni Malkin's third goal of the game.

"It was a faceoff play and it's called 'The Geno' for a reason," Pens coach Dan Bylsma said. "He pushed through and went and got the puck himself and after that it's just all him."

Malkin controlled the puck behind the Carolina net, skated to the right circle, spun and got off a backhander that sailed by Cam Ward's head to make it 6-4.

"There are not many players in the world can make a play like that and two of them are on our team," Bylsma said.

The other being Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and assist Thursday as the Pens took a 2-0 series lead with the 7-4 victory.

Malkin and Crosby, Crosby and Malkin. The Hurricanes went into the series knowing they had to do all they could do slow down those two dynamic scorers.

Through two games, Malkin and Crosby have combined for five goals and four assists.

How to contain them?

"Well, you're not going to be able to do it one on one," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "We struggled a little bit with some of that in our own end. We left them alone at times, one on one with a player."

As defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said, Malkin is a great player and will get his chances, but the Canes have to be much tighter defensively. Pittsburgh also had 42 shots in the game.

The Hurricanes were saying all the right things after Game 2, with the series now going back to Raleigh for two games.

Defenseman Tim Gleason: "We're down 2-0. We're going back to our building. It's not over with."

Maurice: "They won two games on home ice. We have to do the same thing. That's our challenge."

And a challenge it will be.

davetherave


All-Star
All-Star
The view from Pittsburgh today:

Overrated Hurricanes are overmatched

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE/Bob Smizik| Friday, May 22, 2009

The word was out from multiple expert sources before this Eastern Conference final that the Carolina Hurricanes would be the best team the Penguins had faced in the playoffs. They were better than Philadelphia, better than Washington.

Well, if that be so, how good are these Penguins?

How about Stanley Cup champion good.

That’s a thought this morning after a dazzling Penguins' 7-4 victory at Mellon Arena last night over these supposedly excellent Hurricanes.

The Penguins are making a myth out of the goaltending superiority of Carolina’s Cam Ward, who came into this series with an alleged edge over Marc-Andre Fleury. And they’re making a playoff legend out of center Evgeni Malkin, who had a hat trick last night and simply dominated play for most of the time he was on the ice.

Malkin would not be denied. He played like a man possessed after getting involved with Carolina’s Chad Larose midway through the second period. His first goal gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead in the first period; his second a 5-4 lead in the third; his third a 6-4 lead, which was vital since the Hurricanes had been coming back all night.

But they would not come back from this goal and you have to wonder if they can come back at all from this manhandling. That’s particularly so because in five consecutive series the Hurricanes had lost Game 1 and came back to win Game 2.

Now that they’ve lost Game 2, they’ve got to be thinking maybe this isn’t their year.

They find themselves being in the near-impossible position of having to win, in a best-case scenario, four out of five games against the Penguins to win this series.

It’s hard to believe that’s going to happen.

Sure, the Hurricanes might get some life by returning to their home ice for two games beginning Saturday. But that does not remove their daunting challenge of having to win four of five.

Just as noteworthy as the downsizing of Ward has been the disappearance of Eric Staal, the Hurricanes top offensive player, who has yet to score a goal in this series. On a team that lacks the deep firepower of the Penguins, the Hurricanes can hardly afford a vanishing act by their best player.

Speaking of deep firepower, the Penguins got seven points from their first line, five from their second and six from their third in a remarkable display of scoring balance.

Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy (empty net) also scored for the Penguins but this was Malkin’s night.

He swooped in to grab rebounds and throw them past Ward for his first two goals.
The third was magnificent. He won the faceoff, gained the puck, went behind the net and going away from the goal flicked a backhander over Ward’s shoulder on the short side.

Malkin has now taken over the scoring lead in the playoffs, one point ahead of Crosby.

With their big guns -- Ward and Staal -- silenced, the Hurricanes have no answers for the multitude of problems the Penguins throw at them.

Maybe this series will become more difficult. But you wouldn’t want to bet one that. The next dose of difficulty, if any, for the Penguins will come when the opposition is the Detroit Red Wings.

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
Bayda gets a fine for the cross-check(s), but no suspension. No big surprise there. Frankly, I'm surprised they even gave him a fine (or is that automatic when you get a game misconduct?)

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Playoffs/Carolina/2009/05/22/9541436-sun.html

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
More Maurice likely in Canes' future

Raleigh News & Observer/J.P. Giglio, 05/22/2009

Canes coach Paul Maurice doesn't like to talk about his future. He doesn't have a contract beyond June but has been more concerned with the current season than the next.

Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said Friday that Maurice has done an "extremely good job" and will likely return next season.

"The fact of the matter is something extraordinary would have to come up for this coaching staff not to return," Rutherford said. "But I still want to wait and go through the process when we're finished playing."

Maurice went 33-19-5 after taking over for Peter Laviolette on Dec. 3 and led the Canes to wins in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Maurice, 42, said he hasn't talked to Rutherford about a new contract.

"We're both too superstitious to talk about it," Maurice said.

Maurice is under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where coached the previous two seasons, through June. The Canes compensate the Maple Leafs for Maurice's services, Rutherford said.

The Canes are also still paying Laviolette.

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
If the Canes manage to push this to 6-7 games, yeah, he should get an extension. If they get booted out in 4, I would not be buying a house in the area.

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
The view from Raleigh:

'Mo' makes Canes go

Coach Paul Maurice, in his second stint leading the Hurricanes, has changed his approach and gained perspective since becoming Carolina's coach again last December and leading the team to the playoffs.

J.P. GIGLIO, RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER, May 23, 2009

RALEIGH - There are two versions of Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice -- the old "Mo" and the new one.

By his own admission, the new coach Maurice is much more relaxed than he was the last time he led the team. He is better at throttling back the intensity, more confident when dealing with players.

Friday's performance at his news conference was vintage Mo -- sarcastic, coy and decidedly in the laughter-is-the-best-medicine camp. But you would never be able to discern the desperation of the Canes' situation, down 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, by listening to their coach banter with the media.

"I'm in a good mood," Maurice said. "Just take it as I'm in a good mood."

It has been almost six months since Canes general manager Jim Rutherford turned to Maurice, his old friend, to save the season. Maurice did -- not that he'll take any credit for it -- by injecting confidence into the locker room and managing the different personalities on the team.

Under Maurice, the Canes went from the fringe of the playoff race to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Two rounds and two upsets later, the Canes find themselves in a familiar spot. Coming off a defeat to Pittsburgh.

Maurice's first game back as coach? A home loss to the Penguins.

"I had no idea what we were doing [then]," Maurice said. "At least this one [Thursday night's 7-4 loss], we know where we made our mistakes and where we have to get better."

It was out with the old and in with the older when Rutherford chose Maurice to replace Peter Laviolette on Dec. 3. Five Decembers earlier, Laviolette had replaced Maurice.

In the interim, Maurice coached one season in the minors and two in the NHL in Toronto, the hub of the hockey universe.

Still an impossibly young 42, Maurice, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with Hartford and Carolina, had gained a new perspective on the game.

Offered the head coaching job of the then Hartford Whalers at age 28, Maurice had grown with the team and led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002.

He was fired a season and 20 games later and watched Laviolette lead the team to the Stanley Cup championship in 2006.

Meanwhile, Maurice's brief run with Toronto Maple Leafs ended with a firing in 2008.

But the Hurricanes had problems of their own, missing the playoffs in '07 and again in '08. Through 25 games this season, they were playing at a point per game pace that would likely put them on track to watch the playoffs again.
Rutherford called on Dec. 2.

"We're going to make a change. How soon can you get here?" Rutherford asked.
Maurice, on the other end of the phone in a Toronto suburb, laughed.

"Can you get here tonight?" Rutherford continued.

Maurice realized his former and future boss was serious.

The next day, Maurice walked into a locker room that was filled with a palpable tension and fear, as he put it. His message was simple.

"You're a good team," Maurice told the team in their first meeting.

Star center Eric Staal said Maurice gave the team a new start.

"We wanted to win so bad," Staal said. "Sometimes, as hard as it is, a fresh voice and a new face is what everybody needs to hit the refresh button."

The Canes responded to Maurice's positive reinforcement by going 12-10-3 in his first 25 games -- one point better than the pace under Laviolette.

But Rutherford noticed the confidence building. With the additions of Jussi Jokinen and then Erik Cole, the Canes got deeper and then got hot. They finished the regular season 13-3-2 and stayed at a high level, winning a pair of Game 7s on the road in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

"As a team, we couldn't get confidence," Rutherford said. "Different guys would be confident at different times. He deserves credit for bringing that together. That's what we asked him to do, and he did it."

No credit required

Paul Maurice is not interested in getting credit for the Canes' success.

Give it to Mr. Karmanos, as he still respectfully refers to the team's owner Peter Karmanos 25 years after playing for his junior team, or assistant coaches Ron Francis and Tom Rowe or Rutherford or goalie Cam Ward.

"It has been a team effort, nothing I've specifically done," Maurice said.

But Maurice has made moves on and off the ice that have paid off.

With one goal in 34 games, Maurice gave captain Rod Brind'Amour a two-game break in February that amounted to a week off in the middle of the season for the 38-year-old center. Brind'Amour, who had eight goals in the first 52 games, finished with eight in the final 16 games.

"A big part of coaching is you have to know your team," said Francis, who's four years older than Maurice but played five seasons for him. "He has always been very fair and very much a players' coach and willing to listen."

In the playoffs, Maurice's ability to handle lineup changes has impressed

Rutherford, in particular his decision to use Scott Walker on the same line as Staal in Game 7 of the Boston series.

Some coaches would have buried Walker, who had been embroiled in a controversial ending in Game 5 of the series for throwing an ill-advised punch, but Maurice put him on a line with his best player -- and against Boston's best defensive pairing.

"Suddenly the focus was Walker, and there's more room for Staal," Rutherford said.

Walker, of course, ended up scoring the series-clinching goal in overtime.

Down, not out

Down 2-0 and facing what amounts to a must-win game tonight, Maurice will likely go back to his original message -- you guys are good -- before Game 3.

"I don't feel that we were that far off," Maurice said of Thursday's loss in Pittsburgh.

He wouldn't say Friday what he told his team after what could be construed as an embarrassing loss.

"I'm not even guaranteeing you I talked to the team after the game last night," Maurice joked. "I'm giving you nothing."

He was having too much fun with the gathered press to stop.

"You know what, you make the team, you get to sit in that locker room and you get to hear every word," Maurice deadpanned. "But if you can't make it through training camp, you don't get that stuff."

The new Mo, in some ways, just like the old one.

jp.giglio@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8938

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 PitPittsburgh 6, SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 CarCarolina 2

GAME THREE, 2009 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EAST SEMIFINAL

123T
PIT3036
CAR1012
Final

7:30 PM ET, May 23, 2009, RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina

Pittsburgh's stars too much for Carolina as Penguins take 3-0 series lead

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/ESPN)-- The Pittsburgh Penguins are tough enough to handle when one of their young stars is playing his best. When both are clicking, they're nearly unbeatable.

E
vgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist, Sidney Crosby added a goal and an assist, and the Penguins pushed the Carolina Hurricanes to the brink of elimination by routing them 6-2 on Saturday night.

The Penguins scored twice in the final minute of the first period, then added two more goals in 40 seconds of the third to seal their fourth straight victory and take a 3-0 series lead.

Crosby and Malkin each scored for the second straight game, helping the Penguins improve to 3-0 in these playoffs when both notch goals.

"Sid and Geno, they bring their level and they make everybody better," right winger Bill Guerin said. "Everyone's talent level goes up. That's what they do for us."


Fast Facts

SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 Car SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 Pit
• The Penguins took a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and are one game away from becoming the first team since the 1984 Oilers to advance to Stanley Cup finals the year after losing in the finals.
• Evgeni Malkin (two goals, assist) has recorded multiple points in six straight postseason games. Over the last thirty years, only Wayne Gretzky (8) and Tony Currie (7) have recorded longer streaks of multiple-point games in a single postseason.
• Only two teams, the 1975 Islanders (vs. Penguins) and the 1942 Maple Leafs (vs. Red Wings), have come back from 3-0 deficits to win the series.
-- ESPN Stats & Information


The defending Eastern Conference champions can sweep the best-of-seven series Tuesday night and make a return trip to the Stanley Cup finals, where last year they lost to Detroit in six games.

"I don't think we think that far at any point, really," Crosby said. "Obviously, we know we have an opportunity now, but I don't think we've let ourselves get that far ahead. We've been focused on what we needed to do. We had a similar approach last year, but this year, maybe a little more experience helps."

Ruslan Fedotenko, Craig Adams and Guerin each had a goal and an assist. Adams was credited with his goal when Carolina's Jussi Jokinen won a draw but sent the puck down the ice into an empty net.

Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov scored for the Hurricanes, who haven't lost a playoff series since Detroit beat them in the 2002 Cup finals. In their only other postseason appearance since, they won the Cup in 2006.

Only twice has a team rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win a series, and it hasn't happened since the New York Islanders did it against Pittsburgh in 1975.

"Our challenge: We've got to find a way to beat them once," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "And then we'll try to revisit that."

Malkin has 16 points in six games, including nine points and at least a goal in every game of this series. He followed up his first career NHL playoff hat trick by threatening to do it again with his sixth straight multipoint game. Crosby has 10 points in his last five.

"They've been probably the difference in this series, so far," Jokinen said. "We just have to find ways to keep them off the scoresheet. And if you're letting seven or six goals, you can't win hockey games. That's the bottom line."

Those two helped the Penguins pepper Cam Ward for a third straight game. The Carolina goalie turned aside 34 shots but was overwhelmed again by a Pittsburgh team that held a 40-34 shots advantage and outshot the Hurricanes 73-53 in the first two games.

Working Together

SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 Pit
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are now the two leading goal-scorers in the postseason.



Most Goals By Teammates in Postseason Since 1994
PlayersTeamGoals
Sakic (18), Forsberg (10) '96 Avalanche28
Sakic (18), Kamensky (10)'96 Avalanche28
Bure (16),
Linden (12)
'94 Canucks28
Crosby (14),
Malkin (12)
'09 Penguins26
Franzen (13), Zetterberg (13)'08 Red Wings26


Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for the Penguins.

Malkin and Crosby scored 30 seconds apart late in the first to turn a 1-1 tie into a two-goal Penguins lead. Crosby put Pittsburgh ahead to stay when he beat Joni Pitkanen to the net, took a pretty cross-ice pass from Guerin and tapped the puck past Ward with 42.2 seconds left.

Malkin made it 3-1 with 11.9 seconds remaining when he tracked the puck down in the low circle, skated up the goal line and stuffed in the puck for his second tally.

That came after he erased the Hurricanes' early lead and made them pay for a fouled-up clearing attempt by Tim Gleason, using some nifty stickwork to skate in close on Ward and beat him with a wrist shot. The 22-year-old Russian's two goals brought chants of "MVP" from the few hundred Penguins fans who infiltrated the RBC Center.

It was rocking early, with the desperate Hurricanes feeding off an amped-up crowd of Caniacs. Cullen cashed in on that early emotional burst, taking a pretty feed from Patrick Eaves and wristing it past Fleury's stick.

"The way the building was the first 10 minutes, they get the lead and to be able to answer back and leave the first period 3-1 was certainly a lift for us," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

Game notes
Pittsburgh D Sergei Gonchar and LW Chris Kunitz had two assists apiece. ... The Hurricanes have led for a total of 13 minutes, 45 seconds through three games. ... Carolina LW Ryan Bayda was in the lineup two nights after he received a match penalty for high-sticking near the end of Game 2. He was fined $2,500, but his automatic one-game suspension was rescinded by the NHL. ... RW Tuomo Ruutu skated for the Hurricanes after leaving Game 1 early and missing Game 2 due to a lower body injury.

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir gives his verdict on a series he feels is just about done, and he cites historic reasons why:

Malkin, Crosby have Pens rolling

Allan Muir/INSIDE THE NHL, SI.COM, May 24 2009

Call it a moment of foreshadowing.

As he opened the scoring early in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final, Carolina center Matt Cullen fell to his knees.

It wasn't long before Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins forced the rest of his teammates to theirs.

The Hurricanes got off to the quick start they wanted with Cullen's goal but, as in Game 2, they had no answer for Sidney Crosby and Malkin. Pittsburgh's unstoppable duo each scored in the final minute of the first period to break open a 1-1 game and lead the Penguins to a 6-2 (RECAP | BOX) win.

That's three straight wins for Pittsburgh in the series. Given the way Malkin and Crosby are playing, it's hard to imagine they won't make it four.

Not that Carolina has no fight left. The Cardiac 'Canes haven't quite gone into cardiac arrest. But they're close.

There's effort, but no execution. Battles won in the offensive zone aren't translating into scoring opportunities. As Paul Maurice pointed out, they had 41 shot attempts either go wide or get stopped by a Pittsburgh defender before they got to Marc-Andre Fleury.

Eric Staal's become a non-factor, his goal drought now stretching to six games. He actually generated four shots on the night, but few good chances. Worse, he was on the ice for three Pittsburgh goals (he's now is minus-five for the series) and was a pushover in the circle, winning just five of 18 draws.

He's certainly not the only Carolina forward who's flatlining (the next Ray Whitney sighting in the series will be the first and Erik Cole hasn't scored in 30 playoff games), but without him firing, the Carolina offense hasn't got enough powder to trade volleys with Pittsburgh.

Neither does their defense. It's hard to believe this is the same group whose speed and agility was so effective against New Jersey and Boston. Against the Pens, they've turned into a sextet of bumbling Mr. Beans. When they weren't turning the puck over (the seven gives on the scoresheet hints at the forgiving nature of the local off-ice crew), they were letting their checks fly by unimpeded.

Ugly? Oh, yeah.

Tim Gleason compounded what's become a brutal series by coughing up the puck to Malkin on his first goal, then failing to cover him as he drove to the net on the second. Joni Pitkanen neglected to take the man or the pass on Crosby's goal, and spent most the night gliding rather than skating. As a group, they look exhausted.

With that kind of help it's hard to blame Cam Ward for the loss, or for his visible displays of frustration. He did his best to turn the series around, making a nifty glove save on Malkin and stoning Max Talbot three times in close when the outcome of the game remained in doubt. Still, five goals are five goals. He may have stolen shifts, but he couldn't steal the game.

And for that, give full marks to the Pens who, as Dan Bylsma pointed out, are doing the little things the right way. They were far more efficient in their own end, holding Carolina to just 16 shots through two periods and limiting second chances that ended up in the net in Game 2 (good thing, as Fleury continues to spit out far too many fat rebounds).

They got strong supporting efforts from Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz, who bounced between centers but provided a steady, physical game down low and from Crosby, who scored the first of those two dagger goals 31 seconds apart in the final minute of the first.

And then there was Malkin.

He may not be God, as Gleason pointed out after he burned the 'Canes for a hat trick in Game 2, but he's been Messier-like. And that's pretty close.

He's been the alpha dog in the offensive end, using his size and strength to grab the puck and get to the net. The second goal was a perfect example: he picked up a loose puck along the boards, danced by Gleason along the goal line and beat Ward with a wrister in tight.

"He's in a zone right now," Crosby said.

No kidding. That's now six consecutive multi-point games for Mama Malkin's boy, topping Mario Lemieux's franchise mark of five and just two off Wayne Gretzky's league record of eight. He has seven goals and 16 points over that span.

And it's not like he punches out once the puck leaves Carolina's zone. Malkin's commitment on the defensive side has been just as critical to the team's success as his point streak. There were plenty of standout moments in Game 3-his devastating hit on Cullen, a couple of nifty takeaways from Staal-but he was just as effective taking care of the little things in his own zone. He was the gum that bogged down multiple Carolina sorties, his body or his stick closing down the passing lanes and taking away shots.

Like a young Messier back in 1984, Malkin is a hungrier, more focused player for having lost in the previous year's final. It is Carolina's misfortune that they ran into him.

So now come the reminders that just two teams-the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 Islanders-have ever come back after trailing 3-0 in a series. At the post-game press conference, Paul Maurice didn't sound like a man ready to guide his troops to a third such miracle.

"Our challenge is that we have to find a way to beat 'em once," he said. "We're not looking at trying to beat Pittsburgh four times."

Just as well. The way Malkin is rolling, they haven't got a chance.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Man... how good is Malkin getting during this series? Leading in assists and points...

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
A Gretzky record is being threatened by Malkin for cryin' out loud. Like I said in the other thread this Pens team will win it all this year.


_________________
"A child with Autism is not ignoring you, they are waiting for you to enter their world."

- Unknown Author

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
And Crosby is signed for another 4 years, with Malkin signed for another 5. Man... this duo is going to be doing some damage for a while.

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
shabbs wrote:And Crosby is signed for another 4 years, with Malkin signed for another 5. Man... this duo is going to be doing some damage for a while.

Kinda reminds you of the Jagr - Lemieux days doesn't it? Too bad they could only manage 2 Cups though.


_________________
"A child with Autism is not ignoring you, they are waiting for you to enter their world."

- Unknown Author

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
From CBSSports.com, today:

Malkin, Penguins on brink of Stanley Cup Finals with win over 'Canes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are tough enough to handle when one of their young stars is playing his best. When both are clicking, they're nearly unbeatable.

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist, Sidney Crosby added a goal and an assist, and the Penguins pushed the Carolina Hurricanes to the brink of elimination by routing them 6-2 on Saturday night.

The Penguins scored twice in the final minute of the first period, then added two more goals in 40 seconds of the third to seal their fourth straight victory and take a 3-0 series lead.

Crosby and Malkin each scored for the second straight game, helping the Penguins improve to 3-0 in these playoffs when both notch goals.

"Sid and Geno, they bring their level and they make everybody better," right winger Bill Guerin said. "Everyone's talent level goes up. That's what they do for us."

The defending Eastern Conference champions can sweep the best-of-7 series Tuesday night and make a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, where last year they lost to Detroit in six games.

"I don't think we think that far at any point, really," Crosby said. "Obviously, we know we have an opportunity now, but I don't think we've let ourselves get that far ahead. We've been focused on what we needed to do. We had a similar approach last year, but this year, maybe a little more experience helps."

Ruslan Fedotenko, Craig Adams and Guerin each had a goal and an assist. Adams was credited with his goal when Carolina Jussi Jokinen won a draw but sent the puck down the ice into an empty net.

Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov scored for the Hurricanes, who haven't lost a playoff series since Detroit beat them in the 2002 Cup finals. In their only other postseason appearance since, they won the Cup in 2006.

Only twice has a team rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win a series, and it hasn't happened since the New York Islanders did it against Pittsburgh in 1975.

"Our challenge: We've got to find a way to beat them once," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "And then we'll try to revisit that."

Malkin has 16 points in six games, including nine points and at least a goal in every game of this series. He followed up his first career NHL playoff hat trick by threatening to do it again with his sixth straight multipoint game. Crosby has 10 points in his last five.

"They've been probably the difference in this series, so far," Jokinen said. "We just have to find ways to keep them off the scoresheet. And if you're letting seven or six goals, you can't win hockey games. That's the bottom line."

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The view from Raleigh today:

Canes do some soul-searching

CANES NOW, Raleigh News & Observer/Chip Alexander, May 26, 2009

The Canes' Scott Walker said he and his teammates did more than take the last two days to rest and recoup and get ready to play the Penguins in Game 4.

"It gave us a chance to look in the mirror and look at ourselves and say, 'Is this the way we want to be playing at this time of the year, in the Eastern Conference finals?'" he said. "Maybe in that sense it has given us some time to soul search or look at ourselves and say 'How do I want to be remembered?'

"Do I have to play better? As a team what do we need to do better? I think, regardless of whether it's two days or one day, that's what we need to do."

As Canes coach Paul Maurice said today, "We didn't win the lottery to get to the conference finals. We were a good team for a good part of the season."

Like Walker, Maurice said he wanted his team to play Game 4 tonight against the Penguins like it has so often in the season, in the playoffs. With resolve, with the determination to bounce back from a bad break or a bad goal.

"We like our team. We like the group of guys that we have," center Eric Staal said. "Things change over the summer, so we want to make sure that we play better than we are right now.

"We need to respond, starting with Game 4, and go from there."

Asked what he knew about the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders, Staal smiled. Yes, he said, he was aware that both trailed 3-0 in a series and won.

"I know they came back," he said. "We know it can be done. We've got a chance and that's all we need. We're excited for the challenge.

"It's definitely not going to be easy but who cares? We can compete and play and we can beat this team. We beat them during the year and we've got a chance here at home to hopefully build some momentum and then go from there."

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SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 PitPittsburgh 4, SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 CarCarolina 1

GAME FOUR, 2009 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EAST SEMIFINALS
PENGUINS WIN SERIES 4-0

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Final

7:30 PM ET, May 26, 2009, RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina

Penguins finish off sweep, in back-to-back Stanley Cup finals

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are headed back to the Stanley Cup finals.

Fast Facts

SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 Car SCP '09 ROUND 3, EAST CONFERENCE FINAL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Page 5 Pit
• After Eric Staal scored the first goal of the game, the Penguins scored four unanswered goals to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the second straight year.
• The Penguins became the first team since the 1984 Edmonton Oilers to advance to the Stanley Cup final the year after losing in the Stanley Cup final. That year, the Oilers won the Cup in five games over the Islanders.
• Dan Bylsma became the eighth coach to have taken over a team during the season and reach the Stanley Cup final later that year. The last to do it was Larry Robinson in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils.
• Cam Ward lost an elimination game for the first time in his career (5-1). Ward's five-game win streak in elimination games was the longest since Patrick Roy won six straight from 2001-2002.
• This marks the first time this franchise has been swept since 1989, when the team was the Hartford Whalers and was swept by Montreal.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Max Talbot had a goal and an assist to help the Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday night and finish off a sweep in the Eastern Conference finals. Pittsburgh lost to Detroit last year in a six-game final series.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin also scored, and Craig Adams added an empty-netter. Crosby had two assists to extend his point streak to six games, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped the final 30 shots he faced in shutting down Carolina during the final 58 minutes.

The Penguins outscored the Hurricanes 20-9 in the series, netted at least three goals in each game, and trailed for a total of 20 minutes, 30 seconds in advancing to the Cup finals for the fourth time.

If the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings beat Chicago in the West finals, it will set up the first title rematch since the
Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders met in 1983 and 1984.

Pittsburgh is the first team since the 2000-01
New Jersey Devils to get to the finals in consecutive years. The Red Wings, who lead Chicago 3-1 in the West finals, could join them as soon as Wednesday night.

The Penguins are the first runner-up to return to the finals since Edmonton in 1983 and 84.

Eric Staal scored for the first time in the series for the Hurricanes, who lost for the first time in these playoffs when their franchise player notched a goal.

Cam Ward made 21 saves but lost a playoff series for the first time in his NHL career. He had been 5-0 in elimination games for the Hurricanes, who were on the losing end of the handshake line for the first time since 2002, when they lost to the Red Wings in the Cup finals. In their only other playoff appearance in that span, they won the Cup in 2006.

In this series, Carolina led only three times and entered Game 4 with no players scoring more than two points -- Pittsburgh entered with five. The Hurricanes were swept for the first time since 1989, when the franchise was still the Hartford Whalers and was beaten by the
Montreal Canadiens.

Fedotenko scored the Penguins' first goal with 11 1/2 minutes left when he sneaked behind Ward and tipped in
Philippe Boucher's blast from the point, giving him goals in two straight games.

Pittsburgh took the lead for good on a fluky goal with 1 1/2 minutes left. Talbot's wrist shot from the slot was deflected by
Anton Babchuk, and the puck fluttered over Ward's catching glove to make it 2-1.

Another miscue by Babchuk -- a healthy scratch for the first three games of the series -- midway through the second led to the Penguins' third goal. He turned the puck over near the blue line to Guerin, and that started a 2-on-1 rush that ended with Crosby's pretty feed that set up the 16-year veteran's tap-in.

By that point, the Hurricanes seemed spent after their comeback-fueled run through the first two rounds, an impressive stretch that included consecutive Game 7 road victories over New Jersey and Boston.

In an effort to keep that run going, they pulled out all the stops -- even luring former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, a Raleigh resident and former N.C. State linebacker, to sound the siren that precedes their pregame entrance to the ice.

Staal scored on Carolina's first shot, a wraparound 1 1/2 minutes in for his first goal since scoring twice in Game 4 of the second round.

Game notes
Pittsburgh C
Evgeni Malkin's career-best streak of six multipoint games ended. ... Carolina RW Tuomo Ruutu, who played fewer than 8 minutes in Game 3 because of a lower body injury, was scratched and was replaced by RW Patrick Dwyer. ... Babchuk replaced D Frantisek Kaberle, a healthy scratch.

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