NHL
Game Date Matchup/Result Breakdown
1 Monday, May 18, 7pm et on TSN Hurricanes 2 at Penguins 3 Recap/Highlights | Box
2 Thursday, May 21, 7pm et on TSN Hurricanes 4 at Penguins 7 Recap/Highlights | Box
3 Saturday, May 23, 7:30pm et Penguins 6 at Hurricanes 2 Recap/Highlights | Box
4 Tuesday, May 26, 7:30pm et Penguins 4 at Hurricanes 1 Recap/Highlights | Box
Penguins win series 4-0

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Team Page | Roster | Stats | Tale of the Tape - Crosby vs. Staal

Regular Season Record: 45-28-9, 99 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 2-1-1
Last Stanley Cup Win: 1992
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 2008
Last Postseason Appearance: 2008
Players with Stanley Cup Rings: Chris Kunitz (1), Bill Guerin (1), Petr Sykora (1), Ruslan Fedotenko (1), Craig Adams (1)

How They Got Here: The star-studded battle between the Penguins and Capitals will be a tough act to follow. After a see-saw battle that saw the series go the distance, Crosby and Co. came out victorious with a stunning Game 7 rout. The high-flying series had at least five goals scored in all seven games. 2003 was the last time an NHL playoff series went a full seven games with five-or-more goals scored in each game (Minnesota's victory over Vancouver in the second round). In the first round, the Penguins captured home-ice advantage over the rival Flyers on the final day of the regular season and it proved to be a crucial result. For the second straight season, Pittsburgh ended the playoff hopes of their cross-state rivals. The surprise was the relative ease by which it was achieved.

A Reason To Cheer For The Penguins: The Penguins were just shy of capturing their third Stanley Cup in franchise history last year and nothing short of finishing the job this spring will be acceptable. Those high hopes are remarkable considering that just a couple of months ago, pundits were wondering if this team would even make the playoffs. With new coach Dan Bylsma at the helm and Evgeni Malkin making his case for the Hart Trophy (finishing first in league scoring and leading all Penguins players in scoring for the second consecutive season), Pittsburgh is back in the contenders' conversation.

What They Bring To The Table: While trade deadline acquisitions Chris Kunitz and veteran winger Bill Guerin don't have the same level of talent that Marian Hossa brought last year, they do add plenty of grit and experience while filling the scoring void on the wing that the club needed most of the season. The Penguins also have solid character players like Pascal Dupuis and Maxime Talbot, who are always ready to provide energy and support for the blueliners. The club had to give up a good offensive defenceman in Ryan Whitney, but have enough depth with the return of power play specialist Sergei Gonchar and the emergence of young Kris Letang. Goaltending is everything in the postseason, and Marc-Andre Fleury should be solid in goal if he builds on last spring's postseason run.


CAROLINA HURRICANES

Team Page | Roster | Stats | Tale of the Tape - Staal vs. Crosby

Regular Season Record: 45-30-7, 97 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 2-2-0
Last Stanley Cup Win: 2006
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 2006
Last Postseason Appearance: 2006
Players with Stanley Cup Rings: Eric Staal (1), Ray Whitney (1), Rod Brind'Amour (1), Matt Cullen (1), Erik Cole (1), Chad LaRose (1), Anton Babchuk (1), Niclas Wallin (1), Frantisek Kaberle (1), Cam Ward (1)

How They Got Here: The Hurricanes responded to a Game 1 loss at the hands of the Bruins with three straight wins, and eventually the winner in Game 7, to send them to the Eastern Conference final. The Canes were in a similar situation in the first round where they faced a Game 7 against New Jersey and prevailed. Centre Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward were outstanding in Carolina's series win over the Devils and the efforts continued in the second round, Staal collecting four goals, six points and a minus-1 rating in seven games. Ward surrendered eight goals in games five and six, but stood on his head in the deciding game to help his club advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

A Reason To Cheer For The Hurricanes: Carolina was a great story when they won the Cup in 2006, but everything went downhill from there as the club missed the postseason for the next two years. But with head coach Paul Maurice returning behind the bench, the Hurricanes were one of the hottest teams down the final stretch and look like a contender in the wide-open Eastern Conference.

What They Bring To The Table: A bust in Edmonton with 27 points in 63 games, Erik Cole returned to Carolina in a trade deadline deal and brought back instant chemistry. Reunited with Eric Staal on the top line, Cole should be one of several big weapons up front. In net, Cam Ward is also on his game, breaking the franchise record with 39 victories this season and finishing 14-4-2 over the last 20 games. A Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2006, Ward has been a workhorse in goal, building a 10-1-2 record in March and finishing the season with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Up front, Eric Staal led all Hurricanes in goals (40) while Tuomo Ruutu set a career high with 26 goals. On the blueline, Joe Corvo led all Hurricanes defenceman in points (38) while Anton Babchuk had a career season, posting 16 goals (best among all 'Canes blueliners) and 19 assists with a plus- 13 rating.

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