The Penguins know a thing or two about resiliency. The team has overcome many obstacles during the 2008-09 season and have triumphed each time, resulting in their second straight Eastern Conference finals appearance.
But, the Carolina Hurricanes also know how to be resilient in the face of adversity. Carolina was three points out of the playoffs in mid-February and went on a 13-3-2 run to end the season and earn a postseason berth.
In both of the opening two rounds of the playoffs, Carolina dropped Game 1, won Game 2 and eventually upset their higher seeded opponents on the road in Game 7.
“They’ve been resilient through the whole playoffs,” Bill Guerin said. “We know their record in Game 1 of a series and we know their record in Game 2 of a series. We saw (Monday) night that they are resilient and they stayed with it. They work hard for 60 minutes. We know what to expect (Thursday).”
“They played really hard,” Max Talbot said. “They never stopped working and came at us. We expect it’s going to be a long series. They’re consistent with their system. They play as a team and they’re really aggressive. They keep coming at you. They’re a very dangerous team.”
The Penguins never trailed in their 3-2 victory in Game 1 Monday night, but the Hurricanes refused to go quietly into the night. Pittsburgh scored the first two goals of the game in the first but the Hurricanes cut into the lead with a tally in the second period. The Penguins added to their lead with a power-play goal in the third period. But there was no time to relax as Carolina netted a man-advantage score with 1:26 left in regulation. The Hurricanes were inches from tying the game on a shot by Eric Staal. But goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
made a sprawling save and preserved the victory.
That's their concept. They never quit. Whether you’re up one, two, three goals, they’re going to throw everything at you. For us, we need to be prepared for that. Until the final buzzer rings they’re going to throw everything at us. - Mark Eaton
“That’s their concept. They never quit,” Mark Eaton said. “Whether you’re up one, two, three goals, they’re going to throw everything at you. For us, we need to be prepared for that. Until the final buzzer rings they’re going to throw everything at us.”
“It’s the style they have been playing and we expected it,” said Fleury, who made 23 saves in Game 1. “We saw this (Monday) with the way they played, they keep coming at us very hard and they play very well as a team.”
Despite the loss, the Hurricanes were a tough foe for the Penguins to handle. But Pittsburgh has regularly risen to challenges this season and is ready for the challenge.
“They have the never-quit attitude,” Eaton said. “We’ve seen in previous series how they’ve bounced back after Game 1 losses. We expect their best (Thursday) night and we need to respond and bring our game up a level from Game 1 if we want any chance to win Game 2.”
“Of all the teams we’ve faced this is probably the best at knowing their game, playing their game and doing it over and over again with hard work,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “They have a battle level that they continue to bring at you. They play their game and they’re very disciplined at how they play their game. That’s how they’ve become resilient. That’s how they’ve come back in series. That’s something we’re aware of … We expect that from them. We know they’re going to play hard. We know how they’re going to play. We have to be sharper and ready for it if we’re going to continue to have success.”Notes:
The team had a brief scare at practice Wednesday morning when a hard Evgeni Malkin
slap shot hit defenseman Rob Scuderi in the skate. Scuderi fell to the ice and hobbled to the bench. Luckily, after some rest Scuderi returned to finish the practice session.