The final battle of the Eastern Conference begins tomorrow Monday, May 18th in Pittsburgh. The Penguins will host the Carolina Hurricanes at Mellon Arena at 7:30pm. This should be another 6-7 game series that will keep everyone on their toes.
The Pittsburgh Penguins
will rely on their potent offense to keep them alive. They have had 3rd and 4th line players step up recently and will need them to continue the way they have been playing to lead them back to the Stanley Cup finals. Evgeni Malkin will need to come alive if this team expects to move on. Sidney Crosby found his stride in the previous series againt the Capitals, they won 4-3, and will more then likely keep this surge alive at least to start the series. The Penguins defense was nearly at a loss when Sergei Gonchar was injured in game four of the Capitals series. They did not let that keep them down though. They also came alive and showed the fans that they are a powerful defense and can still do their jobs without 'the Sarg'. Goaltender Marc Andre Fluery will need to bring his A game againt the comback Carolina Hurricanes because they will force him to be his best.
The Carolina Hurricanes
are going to come into this third round with a purpose. I have always called them the comeback kids because they never seem to give up. They were not expected to beat the Devils and certainly were not expected to be the Bruins. They sent both team packing in seven game series matchups this second season. Eric Staal has always been good but man is he coming into his own and playing great. He will be the man to watch in this series and the one the Pens will need to shut down. The Canes will need to continue to get players like Walker and Jokinen to the front of the crease to get those deflections in the goal past Fluery. Carolina's defense will need to try to shut down the zone in front of the net and keep Crosby and Malkin outside if they want to shut them down.
In the end this series will come down to nothing else but pure skill and the want to win the Cup. These two teams are very evenly matched and will battle each other until the last second ticks off the clock. Keep your hats on because this should be a high speed, high scoring series. There will be plenty of highlight plays in this one. Sit back and enjoy!