20:00: Prior to the start of the period, Martha Stewart Chris Simpson interviews WEC fighter Mike Brown:
Is it us, or does he have Scott Walker's nose:
-Brown gets really descriptive with the athletes on ice and explains, "They big, fast... and good..."
-We write that with the full understanding Brown could make us eat our teeth if he wanted too.
-Jordan Staal, Scuderi, Gill and Cooke are on for the kill.
19:24: Samsonov snaps off a wrister from along the goal line. Fleury says no.
18:31: Pitkanen throws a wrister at the net from the left wing. Samsonov re-directs it on net. Fleury fights it off.
18:24: Malkin's penalty is killed.
17:40: Fleury fights off a wrist shot by LaRose in the slot.
16:51: Malkin is involved in another penalty as Seidenberg gets him high with a stick. Malkin, Crosby, Guerin, Boucher and Gonchar are on for the power play.
16:36: Eric Staal makes a wonder effort shorthanded as he drives to the Penguins' cage and is denied by Fleury. The Penguins defense looked pretty weak there.
15:37: Corvo chips the puck down ice to kills some time.
15:25: Kunitz sneaks in on net and rockets a wrister over the cage.
15:00: Gonchar controls the puck at the top of the slot, tees up and fires a slapper. It hits a body or two in front then deflects off Ward's right skate and trickles just wide. Sooo close.
14:51: Seidenberg's penalty is killed. The Penguins generated a few nice chances there.
13:15: We don't know if they just got stuck in the middle of a line change or what, but the Penguins have an interesting line combo of Cooke, Crosby and Guerin.
11:58: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the right wing to the far side. Ward juuuust gets a piece of it with his blocker.
11:24: Letang cranks a one-timer from the top of the slot. Ward kicks it out with his right skate. Ward's made a few tough saves here to keep team down by only a goal.
10:53: Versus finally gets around to showing Coach Caher:
-Cowher explains he'll root for the Penguins if they win. We'll root for him as soon as he wins an AFC Conference Championship at home that doesn't involve some miraculous Hail Mary play.
10:19: Kunitz drops Seidenberg behind the Carolina net with a trip. No call. Seidenberg responds by hacking Crosby's feet out from underneath him. That gets called. Kunitz should've been penalized, but Seidenberg should know better. You can retaliate and get away with it generally.
10:07: LaRose generates a shorthanded chance fighting off Gonchar. Gonchar appears to get a piece of the shot as he and LaRose crash into the end boards. Guerin is called for holding. That might've been a make up call there. Four-on-four for 1:48.
7:50: Were we the only ones who knew that would be a goal as soon as Crosby grabbed the puck and took off? Babchuk is pressured by Guerin at the right point and loses the puck. Guerin chips it to Crosby and he takes off the the left wing. Crosby moves towards the net, draws Pitkanen towards him and flicks a wrist shot to Guerin in the slot. Guerin punches the puck behind a helpless Ward to give the Penguins a two-goal lead. To borrow a PensBlog line, Dan Byslma is all business:
-Mario Lemieux is a little less business:
-Why is Tie Domi in his suite with him? Crosby gets the only assist. Penguins 3-1.
... Kunitz snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Ward knocks it down and covers.
4:59: Joe Corvo strikes a slapper from the top of the slot. Fleury makes the save. During a stoppage, Reaugh compares Scuderi's defense to that of Nicklas Lidstrom.
4:02: A wrister by Wallin from the right point is tipped juuust wide.
3:40: Seidenberg smacks down Talbot in the corner with a big check. Talbot gets up and lunges for to knock a puck off the stick of a Carolina player. That little sequence just defined what Talbot is all about. He gets knocked around, gets up and throws his body around for a minor little play. That's a hockey player.
2:39: Ray Whitney decides to make an appearance and throws a wrister from the left wing that sneaks through. Fleury fights it off.
1:53: Seidenberg hammers a slapper from the right point. Fleury can't even see it because of a screen but still kicks it out with his right leg. He totally guessed on that save as pointed out by Reaugh.
1:23: Crosby loses a puck near his own net. Samsonov steals it and smacks it at net. Fleury eats it up. Fleury's been tested for the past two minutes or so and has been really sharp.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1.
-The Penguins just played their game there and increased their lead. They just need to keep this up and they should be able to sweep this series.
-Carolina will surely throw every single ounce of heart they have left into this twenty minutes. The Penguins' can't just sit back and take it. They need to be aggressive as wel.
-Ward's gotten his game together and really kept the Penguins at bay for the most part. He was totally helpless though with the Guerin goal.
-Fleury was really sharp that period.
-Carolina has a 21-19 lead in shots.
-The Hurricanes had a 16-10 lead in the second period.
-Samsonov and Eric Staal each lead the game with five shots.
-Kunitz leads the Penguins with three.
-Carolina has a 22-21 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Jokinen is 5-for-6 (83 percent).
-Crosby is 13-for-22 (59 percent).
-Corvo leads the game with 17:57 of ice time.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 14:38.
-Corvo also leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Gill, Scuderi, Eaton and Gonchar each lead the Penguins with two.
-Stick with this post for the third period. Community Server is having issue again and won't allow us to create a separate post for third period.
19:23: Tim Gleason tosses a wrister at net from the left point. Samsonov is there and re-directs it on net. Fleury hangs on for a save. Samsonov has had more than a few chances this game.
19:09: Fleury fights off another re-direction.
18:33: Carolina is predictably very aggressive so far. Seidenberg hammers a slapper from the left point. It goes wide.
17:27: Cole cracks a slapper from the right wing. It fails to even hit the net.
16:55: Whitney smacks a loose puck at net from the right wing. Gill deflects it out of play.
16:41: Carolina is taking a shot any chance it can get. Letang blocks a slapper by LaRose from the left wing.
16:20: Cullen gets a pass in the slot, undresses Satan with a brilliant move, moves in and is denied by Fleury's blocker in tight. Great chance by Cullen. Better save by Fleury. Adams is nabbed forhooking.
16:10: Samsonov moves in from the point and lifts a wrister over the net. We like the Hurricane's aggresiveness, but they need to get some of these shots on net.
15:49: Cole snaps off a shot from the right wing. Fleury knocks it down and covers.
15:41: Fleury fights off a slapper by Whitney from the left wing.
14:20: The Penguins kill off Adams' penalty. Huge kill for them.
14:15: Malkin gets away with a trip on Cullen in the Carolina zone. Joe Beninati drops the first Prince of Wales Trophy reference of the night.
13:04: Eaton snaps a loose puck at the cage from the left point. Ward gets a piece of it. Talbot's there but play is blown dead as the puck was played with a high stick. Coming back from commercial, we're treated to a rare site. A Pirates hat in a playoff game:
11:52: Pitkanen goes in deep and smacks a puck through the crease wide of the cage.
11:27: Talbot rings a one-timer off the post. Play is halted as Erik Cole is in a heap behind the net. He checked Fedotenko behind the net and fell down. Malkin followed up on the puck and caught Cole in the head with his leg. He slow to recover. A trainer comes out and he gets to his feet. He skates to the bench without his helmet and takes seat holding the side of his noggin.
10:43: LaRose carries the puck into the offensive zone in the slot. He dishes it to Cullen on the right wing. Cullen then dishes it back to Whitney in the slot. Whitney has a clean shot but Letang is able to stick his stick on the puck and interrupt Whitney's shot. Nice play by Letang.
9:11: Tough, tough time for the Hurricanes to take a penalty. Corvo is called for hooking Crosby. The Hurricanes don't need this. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Gonchar, Guerin and Letang are on for the power play.
8:25: Letang tosses a shot on net from the right wing.
7:42: LaRose just had a really stupid meltdown. He jabs Jordan Staal in the back of the leg while on a shorthanded forcheck. That's two minutes for tripping. The Penguins will have a two-man advantage for 32 seconds. Malkin, Gonchar, Guerin, Kunitz and Crosby are on the ice.
7:33: Gonchar blasts a one-timer from the right point. It hits
7:23: Ward fights off a one-timer by Malkin from the left point.
7:05: As Corvo's penalty is killed, Guerin hammers a one-timer from the slot. Ward steers it away.
6:29: Letang fires a slapper. Ward eats it up.
5:42: LaRose's penalty is killed. The Penguins didn't do much there, but they killed off almost four minutes of game clock.
4:53: Eric Staal dishes a feed into the slot for Cole. Cole doesn't appear to get a stick on the puck and it tickles away.
4:48: Ward punches away a wrister by Cooke.
3:57: Scuderi appears to get away with a trip on Cullen behind the Penguins' net.
3:30: Babchuck whips a wrister from the top of the slot. It hits a body in front.
3:14: Some Journey is busted out:
2:37: Cullen snaps off a wrister. Fleury makes the save. LaRose is there fore the rebound but can't capitalize.
2:15: As Ward is pulled, Eric Staal chips a puck behind Letang and tries to skate by him. Letang holds him up. Was that interference?
1:53: Kennedy chips a puck down ice juuuuust wide of the empty n et.
1:10: Game. Talbot chips a puck up ice for Crosby. Crosby coasts into the offensive zone with the puck on a two-on-one with Adams against Seidenberg. Crosby has the goal but decides to dish it to Adams. Adams takes the puck and tosses it in for:
Back to the Cup final. Crosby and Talbot get assists. Penguins 4-1.
0:40: Carolina's fans stand for the final minute or so to salute their team.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Hurricanes 1.
-Celebrate Pittsburgh. Your team is the Eastern Conference champions.
-Remember that whole "don't touch the conference title trophy" thing?
-We fully expect Malkin, Crosby and Gonchar to all contract the mumps and be sidelined for the Cup final. Jeff Taffe, Chris Minard and Alex Goligoski will be running the power play.
-Crosby explained to Chris Simpson afterward that since they lost the Cup last season, they would forget the superstition.
-The Penguins are the first Stanley Cup finalists since the 2001 New Jersey Devils to advance to a second consecutive Stanley Cup final.
-They are the first Stanley Cup runner up to advance to a final since the 1984 Oilers.
-The Penguins just played their game and came out with a win tonight. Even with Evgeni Malkin having an off game. They are argably playing as well as they have at any point this season.
-Fleury was very clutch in this game. Bill Guerin was the first star, but we would've given it to Fleury. He face plenty of quality scoring chances by the Hurricanes, including a few trickly re-directions, and held them off. Fleury, defense came up with some key plays, but he was the reason the Hurricanes could only must one goal.
-So much for our "The Hurricanes would take the Penguins to the limit" prediction. Cam Ward finally looked ordinary in a playoff series. He was just worn out and overwhelmed at times in this series.
-Are we the only one still blown away by the fact that the Penguins have two elite talents on their roster like Crosby and Malkin? Take a look at the Hurricanes. Eric Staal stumbles in this series and they fall apart. Evgeni Malkin has an off game, and Sidney Crosby is there to fill in the gap with two assists.
-Again, other than Pascal Dupuis' mom, who can argue against using seven defensemen?
-How did Talbot not get a star? He had a three-point night (one goal, two assists). That's a career high for him in the regular season or postseason.
-The team is now 7-0 in the playoffs when he scores.
-We don't know if Carolina was spent after two tough series against New Jersey and Boston or what, but they just didn't look like they could skate with the Penguins. They tried to run and gun, but they simply don't have the horses to go with the Penguins.