Pittsburgh Advances to Stanley Cup Finals for Second Straight Year
The Pittsburgh Penguins completed their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening, winning the game 4-1 and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. It is the second straight year that they have won the Eastern Conference, and they are looking forward to what seems like a rematch against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.
Carolina jumped to an early lead just 90 seconds into the game when Eric Staal picked up a loose puck and jammed in a wrap around. His 10 th of the season sent the crowd into a frenzy, and it seemed as if Carolina would be able to feed off of that for the entire game to stave off the end of their season for at least another night.
Whereas for the entire series, it was all world players Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby scoring and producing for the Penguins, on Tuesday evening it was the rest of the lineup. When their top two players don't even need to score for them to put up four goals, they are an extremely dangerous time.
Eight minutes into the first period, Ruslan Fedotenko tipped in a Phillipe Boucher shot to tie the game at 1 a piece. With just under a minute and a half remaining in the first, a Maxime Talbot shot was deflected past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to give the Penguins a 2-1 edge.
Midway through the second period Bill Guerin scored his seventh of the playoffs on a tip in from a Crosby shot. Despite Carolina out-shooting the Penguins 16-10 in the period and 31-25 overall, goaltender Marc Andre Fleury would not let anything else by his sights. The score remained 3-1 all the way until the end of the third, when Crosby fed Craig Adams who sealed the deal with an empty netter.
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Over the four game series, Pittsburgh outscored Carolina 20-9, putting up no fewer than 3 goals in each game. They only trailed for 20 minutes in the entire series. Carolina played tough the entire time, but Pittsburgh was simply too talented and too deep to be denied.
Crosby and Malkin seem on a mission, and the rest of the team, including Fleury, is locked in as well. Penguins center Jordan Staal won this edition of the Staal vs. Staal match-ups, sending brother Eric home.
The Red Wings have a chance to close out their series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday evening on home ice.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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