Malkin Tallies Hat Trick as Penguins Gain 2-0 Series Lead
In an intense, action packed, and goal filled game, the Pittsburgh Penguins came on over the last two periods to deal the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-0 series deficit. The final score was 7-4 Pittsburgh, after Carolina led the game 3-2 following the first period.
With 5 goals in the first period, all coming within the first 13 minutes of the session, the game was hard to figure out. Who would ultimately have the edge, the team that kept striking first or the team that always had an answer?
Sidney Crosby opened up the scoring two minutes into the game for his 13 th playoff goal and his sixth playoff goal to open the scoring in a game tying an NHL record. Just one minute later though, a player Carolina desperately needs to produce, Chad Larose, evened the score and quieted the crowd.
Eight minutes into the period. Evgeni Malkin came soaring off the bench, found his way straight to the net and without ever losing stride was able to grab the puck and score his first of the evening. Carolina answered again however, this time with Jussi Jokinen scoring on a rebound just 30 seconds later. About three minutes after that Carolina scored with three minutes left in the period to capture a 3-2 lead.
The intense action and the never say die play of the Hurricanes left the crowd somewhat stunned. However, the Penguins were just getting started. Three minutes into the second, Maxime Talbot scored with assists from both Malkin and Crosby. The score remained tied at 3 until the very end of the period, when Chris Kunitz launched a goal top shelf as the Penguins took advantage of a tired Hurricanes line with only 8 seconds left in the session.
Carolina however never goes out without a fight. Two and a half minutes into the third period, Carolina once again tied the game, this time via a Patrick Eaves wrist shot. But the Penguins were just too talented on this night for the scrappy Hurricanes squad.
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Malkin battled for a rebound and grabbed his second of the evening nine minutes into the period. Less than four minutes later, Malkin showed his star power. He won a faceoff in the Carolina end, battled for the puck, skated around the back of the net, came out on the opposite side and from the circle launched a blind backhand that sailed past Cam Ward, just under the crossbar to grab a hat trick and a 6-4 lead. The crowd went crazy as Malkin's parents were shown celebrating in the stands and hats flooded the ice.
Tyler Kenndy added an empty netter with two minutes left in the game. With the score sealed at 7-4, a melee broke out between the two clubs. The game was delayed for quite sometime trying to sort out the mess, and Carolina hopes of course that it will provide a boost for their club and their fans come game 3. Game 3 will be on Saturday night in Carolina.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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