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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Hurricanes 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
The Penguins grabbed an early two-goal lead and held off a late Hurricanes surge to take an early 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pittsburgh buried two goals in the first period and had a 3-1 lead in the final minutes of the game.

Carolina made it interesting with a goal with 1:26 left in the contest but Marc-Andre Fleury shut the door on the Canes the rest of the way and Pittsburgh prevailed in Game 1.

It was a back-and-forth affair between the two explosive clubs. The game came down to a battle of the goaltenders as Fleury and Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward played remarkable games. But in the end, Pittsburgh was able to bury one more goal and that’s all that matters.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) - The Carolina Hurricanes probably expected Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to make a difference. What they couldn't have anticipated was being beaten by Miroslav Satan and Philippe Boucher.

Satan and Boucher scored their first goals of the playoffs and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury prevented Carolina from getting its offense going, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Brooks Orpik and Erik Cole battle in front of the Pittsburgh net (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Protecting the Lead
The Penguins jumped out to an early lead with two goals in the first period just 84 seconds apart and never looked back. Pittsburgh held leads of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1 and 3-2. They never trailed in the contest and held off the Hurricanes for the win.

What Could Have Gone Better: Breakaways
Forwards Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin each had a breakaway chance but both came up empty. Kennedy couldn’t control the puck as two Hurricanes pursued him, while Malkin didn’t have much room to make a move so he tried slip the puck through Cam Ward’s five-hole but Ward made the save. That said, Miroslav Satan did score the game’s opening goal on a breakaway. So it wasn’t all bad. 
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was absolutely tremendous in Game 1. He was on his game in the opening minutes, particularly on Carolina’s first power play. Down a man, Fleury made two spectacular saves to keep the game scoreless and moments later Pittsburgh tallied the game’s opening goal. Fleury made 23 saves, with several highlight reel stops, to defeat the Canes.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
The Penguins got on the board halfway through the first period. Matt Cooke threw the puck out of the Penguins zone as a Carolina power play was expiring. Miroslav Satan, who just stepped out of the penalty box, collected the puck and cruised in on goal for a breakaway. Satan faked a shot, freezing Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, and then sent a backhand shot into the twine. Pittsburgh 1, Carolina 0.

The Penguins added to their lead with a tally 84 seconds after the opening score. Evgeni Malkin intercepted a Carolina clearing attempt in the neutral zone and made a quick cross-ice pass to Philippe Boucher while the Hurricanes were changing lines. Boucher entered the zone and gave the puck back to Malkin in the slot. Malkin stick-handled through a Cane before lifting a perfect backhand shot under the arm of Ward. Pittsburgh 2, Carolina 0.

The Hurricanes cut into the Penguins’ lead with a goal in the second period. Erik Cole carried the puck down the near side and cut towards the slot. He dropped the puck to Chad LaRose, who sneaked a shot across the goal line from below the near faceoff circle. Pittsburgh 2, Carolina 1.

Pittsburgh added to its lead with a power-play score late in the third period. Malkin carried the puck into the Carolina zone and dropped it to Crosby at the blue line. Crosby walked the line until finding Boucher cutting down the slot. Boucher threw a shot through traffic that sneaked through Ward’s five-hole. Pittsburgh 3, Carolina 1.

The Hurricanes made it a one-goal with a power-play tally with 1:26 left in regulation. Joe Corvo’s slap shot from the high slot found it’s way through a couple of bodies and into the goal. Pittsburgh 3, Carolina 2.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar was in the lineup for Penguins. There was some uncertainty surrounding his ability to play but the Russian blueliner toughed it out for Game 1. He finished with 21:42 of ice time.

Two Hurricanes were hurt in the game – Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole. Ruutu never returned in the game but Cole was able to finish the contest. Following the game there was no word as to their availability for Game 2.
 
GAME NOTES
 
- Pittsburgh leads its Eastern Conference Finals series against Carolina, 1-0, and is 5-2 at Mellon Arena in this postseason.

- Head coach Dan Bylsma has a career postseason record of 9-5.

- Scoring Summary:
PIT, M.Satan (1), 9:17 1st period: Penguins 1, Hurricanes 0
PIT, E.Malkin (7), 10:41 1st period: Penguins 2, Hurricanes 0
CAR, C.LaRose (3), 13:04 2nd period: Penguins 2, Hurricanes 1
PIT, P.Boucher PP (1), 11:33 3rd period: Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1
CAR, J.Corvo PP (2), 18:34 3rd period: Penguins 3, Hurricanes 2

- Sidney Crosby recorded an assist and has a league-leading 22 postseason points (12G-10A). Crosby has 16 points (10G-6A) in his last nine games and has a point in 12 of 14 playoff games.

- Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s Art Ross champion, notched a goal and an assist and has 21 points in the postseason (7G-14A).

- Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in the victory.

- Miroslav Satan scored his first goal of the postseason. He has three points (1G-2A) in his last two games.

- Philippe Boucher scored his first postseason goal since April 12, 2004 vs. Colorado, when he was a member of the Dallas Stars.

- Mellon Arena sold out for the 114th straight game with a standing room only attendance of 17,132. The Penguins sold out every game in the past two seasons. Pittsburgh is 74-31-9 during that span.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. P.Boucher, PIT
2. C.LaRose, CAR
3. M.Fleury, PIT
“I thought both goalies were really, really good. It could have been
lopsided for either team if it wasn’t for the two goalies,
but it was good to get the win here in the first game.”
- Brook Orpik
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

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