At the beginning, I thought this game might go like the seventh game against the Caps. The Pens seemed to be a half-step ahead of the Hurricanes for the whole first period. This resulted in a 2-0 lead after one. The shots on goal in the first period would lead you to believe that the lead would be the other way, but the Pens were outplaying the Canes for most of the first period.
In the second period, it seemed to me that the Hurricanes picked up the half-step they needed to get back in the game. Fleury did what he had to do to win this game. He played very well. Cam Ward also played well. He made some great saves, two on Billy Guerin alone. The Hurricanes got a goal in the second period by Chad Larose. However, the Canes found themselves down by two goals again after a Phillippe Boucher goal midway through the third period. The Canes kept working hard. They used relentless puck pursuit to keep the pressure on the Penguins. With less than two minutes remaining, the Hurricanes scored to get back within one. They had a powerplay and added an additional attacker by pulling the goalie to get the goal. The game got very interesting for the final moments, but Pens were able to fight off the desperate Hurricanes attack and win the game.
One thing I can say is that I am glad the Hurricanes are not better finishers. I thought they had some great plays in front of the Pens net. They had some nice passing (too much passing at times) and some open guys in the slot. Fleury made a number of big saves on those plays. The Canes, however, misfired on some chances. Carolina had some good opportunities to change the outcome of the game. The Pens are definitely going to have to pick up their play if they want keep winning.
This was a clean, hard-hitting, well-played hockey game. Not at all like the previous two series. In fact, it seemed a bit boring, at times. The lack of any real hatred or inside story-line seems to make it less exciting. I think it will get better.
- Sergei Gonchar was in the lineup for game 1. I have to say, he looks tentative out there. I am sure he is still hurting. He is a valuable member of this team and I hope he gets better. We will need him.
- Though the Pens went 1-4 on the powerplay, I was hoping for more from the red hot PP unit.
- The previously ineffective Carolina powerplay went 1-2.
- You gotta start givin’ it up for Satan. He is playing well.
- Though they did not get a goal, I thought the third line was very good again. Tyler Kennedy really looks good. If he could just finish some of those great plays he is making………….
- Matt Cooke was also very effective. He was playing very hard and hitting anything that moved.
- What is up with Eric Staal batting Fleury’s stick out of his hand and then sweeping it away, out of Fleury’s reach? Isn’t that interference? Aside from that, I thought the officiating was pretty good tonight.
On a side note: there was much talk leading up to this series about former Pittsburgh favorite Bill Cower. It turns out he may of cut his Pittsburgh roots since moving down south. It seems (though he has not committed to it) that he may be cheering for the Hurricanes. In fact, he has become responsible for cranking the Hurricane horn (pictured) This is, of course, much to the chagrin of the Pittsburgh faithful.
The current coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, is a big time supporter of the Pittsburgh Penguins. So, as good as Cower was, let’s forget about him and move forward with Mike Tomlin.
Hey, anybody know the guy in the background. He seems to take umbrage with Paul Maurice.
Great game today guys. Let’s do it again on Thursday.