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East Final a battle of similarities

Friday, 05.15.2009 / 4:50 PM / Conference Finals: Pittsburgh vs. Carolina

By Sam Kasan - PittsburghPenguins.com

Bruins/Hurricanes Playoff Gear Hurricanes Gear Penguins Gear The two teams still standing in the Eastern Conference have traveled very similar paths into their berth in the NHL's final four.

Just consider, the Carolina Hurricanes struggled during the regular season, were in danger of not making the playoffs, replaced their head coach, incorporated an up-tempo, aggressive style, went on a late-season surge to earn a postseason berth and won a critical Game 7 on the road to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Sound familiar?

"You're going to see fast hockey," captain Sidney Crosby predicted. "Both teams really play similar styles. I've watched them play. Their D is in the play, they're quick up front, they attack, they don't sit back. I think that's similar to the way we like to play as well."

"They have a pressuring game, a speed game, their D is good at moving the puck and activating out of the D zone," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "Their strength and depth at the forward position allows them to play that way."

With two teams playing such an aggressive, end-to-end approach, the consensus seems to be that this will be a wide-open series. The Penguins plan to counter Carolina's strength by utilizing a strategy that has proven successful for Pittsburgh during the postseason – namely keeping the Hurricanes pinned in its own zone.

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— Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk after a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday
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