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'Canes searching for answers to Pens dilemma

by Mike G. Morreale /

"We just have to find and play our game and stay with it for the full 60 minutes. If we do that, we'll be just fine."
-- Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg

PITTSBURGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes head home to Raleigh in a quite a predicament.

For the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the "Cardiac 'Canes" find themselves in a 0-2 hole in a best-of-7 series. Not only are they down two games, but they must find an answer for Pittsburgh's two-headed monster in the middle -- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Crosby and Malkin have combined for 6 goals and 8 points in two victories -- and unlike their previous two opponents this postseason, the Hurricanes haven't been able to grab that momentum that seemed to follow them around this postseason.

At least that's the sense Carolina coach Paul Maurice had during his team's 7-4 loss in Game 2 Thursday night when his club rallied to tie the game on three occasions but still came up short -- way short.

"I thought we were in pretty good shape when we responded after their early goal (1:51 into the game)," Maurice said. "I thought we lost the power-play opportunities. It's not so much that we didn't score (on three attempts), but we didn't generate enough of them. That was a big goal in the third period (by Carolina's Patrick Eaves) to get the game tied (4-4), but we just had a hard time finding that place."

Despite the setback, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The last time Carolina dropped the first two games of a playoff series -- in 2006 to the Montreal Canadiens in the conference quarterfinals -- the club won the next four games to close it out in six. The Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup.

"In our last series (against the Boston Bruins), we won both games in Raleigh and we certainly feel we have a chance to do that again," Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "We just have to find and play our game and stay with it for the full 60 minutes. If we do that, we'll be just fine."

It certainly can't get any worse for the shell-shocked Hurricanes, who were outshot 42-28 on Thursday and have to hold serve at home.

"We're going to have to do a little better carrying momentum at different times of the game," Maurice said. "When we do have it going, it will be important for us. They did what they needed to do, winning both their games on home ice. Now we'll have to do the same. That's our job."

Perhaps a little home cooking is just what the 'Canes need at this point of their playoff run, which has seen them eliminate the third-seeded New Jersey Devils and top-seeded Boston Bruins in the first two rounds. Carolina is 4-2 at the RBC Center this postseason and has outscored the opposition 19-13.

"We've just got to get back to playing our game," Eaves said. "We need to be simple, quick and fast. We'll be good when we get back home.

Defenseman Tim Gleason is looking forward to playing at home, particularly since it will enable Maurice to get the matchups he wants.

Bruins/Hurricanes Playoff Gear Hurricanes Gear Penguins Gear "It might make things easier with the last change," Gleason said. "I guess one way or another, we have to shut down those guys and everyone knows who those guys are. We just have to do a better job."

Erik Cole, who played 14:35 and dished out four hits despite being a game-time decision with a lower-body injury, had a simple answer when asked what his team needed to do to get back into the series.

"Play better," he said.

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