Kukla's Korner Hockey
Marc-Andre Fleury was very solid in goal, Penguins scored a late empty-netter to put a lid on the series.
Fluttering puck from Maxime Talbot of the Penguins gets behind Canes goaltender Cam Ward late in the first period.
The goal put the Penguins up 2-1 and they now lead 3-1 going into the 3rd period.
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
Well, it’s all mercifully coming to an end for the thoroughly overmatched and outplayed Hurricanes. That’s not to say the Canes can’t pull one out Tuesday at the RBC Center for their fans, but there’s no way they win four straight against the high-octane Penguins.
Carolina has been outscored 16-8 through three games and outshot 113-87. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have eight goals and 14 points between them, while the entire Carolina roster has eight goals and 22 points. And that’s been the problem; Carolina has been unable to contain Crosby and Malkin, especially the latter who has nine points in the three games.
from Howard Berger of Fan590,
One of the most compelling Stanley Cup tournaments in recent memory is becoming less intriguing by the day. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are making a mockery of the Conference finals as they steam toward a second match-up in the championship round. The Cup semifinals could end in a total of nine games for only the fifth time since the National Hockey League expanded in 1967. That would occur if the Penguins sweep the Carolina Hurricanes here in Raleigh on Tuesday, while the Red Wings eliminate Chicago in Game 5 of the West series on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
The saving grace, of course, would be a potential collision of freight trains in the Stanley Cup final, as Pittsburgh and Detroit appear head-and-shoulders above the competition right now. But, parity in the championship round is not guaranteed.
from Caulton Tudor of the News & Observer,
With a chance to win their third NHL Eastern Conference championship in the past seven years, the Hurricanes now have spent a full week stuck in a bull’s eye role during target practice by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Saturday’s 6-2 win by the Penguins in the RBC Center ran the games count to 3-love and the goals total to 16-8.
In the afterglow of thoserip-roaring adventures in early-round escapes against New Jersey and Boston, this excursion against the Penguins is downright depressing.
As hockey years go, the Triangle is still a toddler. Hurricanes fans are used to seeing close playoff series or not getting to the postseason party at all. Other than that rarest of sports species known as Duke football fans, most North Carolinians just aren’t very familiar with having to deal with prolonged periods of hopelessness and even the most one-sided Duke football losses rarely lasted longer than three hours.
Truth is, trailing 3-0 is a lot more exasperating than having the regional culture ridiculed by the New England media. Sticks and pucks may break our trucks, etc. Besides, at the end of the day against the fancy Boston bourgeoisie, it was Les Gooberhabs, 4-3.
Q. Just curious if you’re getting to a point or would you like to get to a point where you go back to six defensemen? And sister question, did you assess Sergei Gonchar’s play since his injury?
DAN BYLSMA: Again, you know, the reasons why we entertained going to seven, they’re still there to varying degrees. Things have changed, but we’re still contemplating that situation.
You know, I think at some point we’d get back to six.
Sergei’s play – I think we’ve benefitted a lot from him on the power play. The way he brings the puck up the ice and in the zone. Just knowing the nuisances of getting the puck to different areas that we need to try to have success.
So he’s big in that regard.
Q. You said your biggest challenge is going to be telling your players it’s possible to come back.
PAUL MAURICE: It will be stronger than yesterday. We have to get these guys back out there, so they can get on the ice. And that’s part of what’s supposed to happen, instead of each mistake being part of what’s supposed to happen. Getting across that mental divide is a challenge.
We’ve done it before. Not in conference finals circumstances this year. But that’s what counts.
Q. Statistically, right now people are making a comparison of Crosby and Malkin To Whitney and Staal. When I asked Eric if that was fair, and maybe he’d say no. He said, ‘yes, I’ve earned that comparison with my work through the years’ and he’s not offended by it. What are your thoughts?
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
It’s hard to count this team out after watching what it accomplished against seemingly insurmountable obstacles earlier in the playoffs, but unless the Hurricanes have untapped reserves of emotion that are far from apparent at this point, their future is grim.
If the Hurricanes had that kind of fight left, they would have used it at some point in the first three games, when the opportunity was there to take control. Instead, the Hurricanes capitulated, and now it’s too late.
They got this far on emotion. On heart. On drive. To beat the Penguins, the Hurricanes would have needed as much, if not more, of it. Instead, they’re spent—and their season most likely is as well.
Q. Everybody knows the odds and things like that. But also you get a game at home. What is the message to your team tomorrow?
COACH MAURICE: Just that most importantly, don’t view the whole picture. Just get a small glimpse. We need to have to get some relief to reclaim. And then there’s more of a chance to play after that game.
The question you asked me after Game 1 of the Boston series, we thought we were 0?6 against them at that point. That’s the most important thing. The reason we’ve gotten here is the belief to stay in the fight as long as we possibly can. Now we’re at a point there’s no tomorrow.
So I don’t know how many cliches that is, but insert your favorite cliche at this point.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
In the moments after Evgeni Malkin deftly dropped the puck back between his skates to Ruslan Fedotenko, who ripped a shot past Cam Ward to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead, the television cameras panned briefly to Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
In that moment, Seidenberg gave a look—half grimace, half resignation with a dash of, what, maybe admiration—that sums up what the Carolina Hurricanes are now feeling.
Over the course of three straight wins, the Pens have outscored the previously high-flying Hurricanes 16-8, including Saturday’s 6-2 victory, as Pittsburgh now owns a death-grip 3-0 series lead.
That they will advance at some point is now a foregone conclusion, the only question to be answered is when. When they do advance, they will be carried by the most devastating one-two punch the NHL has seen in a generation, maybe since Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux were winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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