Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/24/09 at 12:45 AM ET
On Saturday night, the Penguins all but ended the Hurricanes postseason with a 6-2 whipping. Evgeni Malkin led the way with two goals and an assist and is looking very much like he could be the Conn Smythe winner. The Pens have a commanding 3-0 series lead in what was supposed to be a good series.
Despite scoring first and getting the home crowd going, the Canes were awful for the rest of the first period, allowing the Penguins to do what they do.
For the second game in a row, the story behind the story is that Carolina’s defense was horrible. On Malkin’s first goal, Tim Gleason made a pathetic attempt to clear the puck, putting it right on Malkin’s stick in the slot area. On Crosby’s goal, Joni Pitkänen let #87 just waltz right in, making no effort to stop Crosby or the fantastic pass from Billy Guerin. On Malkin’s second goal, it was again some sloppy play by Gleason.
Carolina gave up not one, but two goals in the last minute of the first period, and it seemed like the game was already over.
It looks like Carolina’s luck has run out. The task ahead of them is massive, and they’ll have to be a completely different team if they have any hope of winning even two games. Pittsburgh is having their way in front of the Carolina net. They’re scoring goals in bunches. Carolina is getting flustered by the wave of forechecking and the barrage of shots. They’re getting mesmerized by Malkin.
Meanwhile, the Pens have made Eric Staal a complete non-factor. He actually hasn’t scored since game four of the Boston series.
Cam Ward is actually playing well, but he’s not getting any help at all from his defensemen. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from the Penguins and how they’ve dominated this series, but Carolina’s defense is making it easy for them.
Cullen and Samsonov for Carolina. Malkin (2), Crosby, Fedotenko, Hands of Feet and Guerin for the Pens.
Fleury made 32 stops including 17 in the third period. Cam Ward made 34 stops, but gave up the two goals late in the first to pretty much determine the game.
Game four, which might be the last, will be Tuesday night in Raleigh.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.