The plays that turn the tide in every game of playoff action -- that is what the beauty of hockey history is built on.
Check back every night following all the 2009 playoff action to witness NHL.com's game-changing moment from each game, as well as the rest of each game's goals, saves and hits.
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Pittsburgh at Carolina - Game 4
A) Staal’s wrap-around -
If Carolina ever needed someone to come through, facing elimination in Game 4, Eric Staal
was the player -- and he did just that 1:36 into the opening period.
kept the play alive down low by banking the puck off the boards behind Pittsburgh's net. Staal grabbed it and went hard to the far post, where he stuffed the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury
on the wrap-around attempt.
The RBC Center fans rose to their feet as the Hurricanes' superstar gave them hope with his 10th goal of the playoffs -- Staal's previous nine goals all came in wins by the 'Canes, who entered Tuesday with a 7-0 playoff record when he scored.
B) Fedotenko's tip in -
Less than seven minutes after Carolina grabbed an early lead, Ruslan Fedotenko
came through with his second goal in as many games to tie the score in the first period.
dumped the puck into the Hurricanes' zone and Ray Whitney
was unable to gather as it slid past him and to Philippe Boucher
at the top of the right circle. Boucher then slapped the puck past Carolina's Dennis Seidenberg
and right to the stick of Fedotenko at the far post. With Cam Ward
out of position, thinking it was a shot coming from Boucher, Fedotenko tipped the puck into the empty net to tie the score at 1-1.
After the Hurricanes grabbed the early momentum in this contest, Fedotenko quickly turned things around for Pittsburgh.
C) A change of pace -
What seemed like a harmless little play turned out to be a nightmare for Cam Ward
and the Hurricanes.
When Carolina defenseman Niclas Wallin
was unable to keep play alive in the Penguins' zone, Maxime Talbot
took advantage. Talbot picked up the puck at his own blue line and skated in on a 1-on-1 against Anton Babchuk
. Talbot then wristed a shot from the top of the circle that was deflected off Babchuk's stick and past Cam Ward
. Ward was prepared for the hard wrister by Talbot, but after the deflection, the puck was completely slowed down and fooled the goalie.
Talbot's goal with 1:29 remaining in the first period gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead and shocked both Ward and the Carolina fans at the RBC Center.
D) Sid to Guerin -
Last game, Bill Guerin
fed a perfect pass to Sidney Crosby
for the easy goal. Tonight it was the other way around for the Pens in the second period.
Guerin outmuscled Anton Babchuk
along the Pittsburgh blue line and forced the puck out of the defensive zone to Crosby. Hustling down ice, Guerin joined Crosby on a 2-on-1 against Joni Pitkanen
. The Pittsburgh captain then fed a remarkable pass under Pitkanen's stick to Guerin, who tipped the puck past the lunging Cam Ward
to give the Pens a commanding 3-1 lead.
Guerin's seventh goal of the postseason with 7:50 left in the second period seemingly stuck a dagger in Carolina's hope for the unthinkable series comeback.
E) Fleury robs Cullen -
After a relatively quiet first period, the Hurricanes seemed to put more and more pressure on Marc-Andre Fleury
as the game got older; fortunately for the Penguins, he was up to the task.
Just 3:39 into the third period, Fleury was tested with a tremendous scoring opportunity from Matt Cullen
. Cullen received a pass in the Pens' territory and then danced around Miroslav Satan
with a beautiful move before coming in against Fleury with pressure from behind him. Cullen went to his forehand, but Fleury stayed with him all the way and made a beautiful blocker save.
Fleury turned in arguably his best performance of the series, stopping 30 of 31 shots in leading the Penguins to a series-clinching 4-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Game 4.
FINAL SCORE: Penguins 4, Hurricanes 1