Game 2 Recap: Evgeni Malkin powers the Pens by Cam Ward, the 'Canes, 7-4

Cam Ward has never lost an NHL playoff series.  Cam Ward has never lost a Game 2 of an NHL playoff series.  One of these statements is now not true.  Ward, who gave up six goals in five previous Game 2's got touched up for 6 goals in this game alone.  Uh oh.

Point/Counterpoint: Sidney Crosby started the scoring off of a feed from Chris Kunitz.  But just a 1:16 later Carolina would answer when Chad LaRose went hard to the net and beat Marc-Andre Fleury.

Point/Counterpoint: Tyler Kennedy collected the puck and waited behind the net, eyeing Evgeni Malkin who just made a change...TK stuffed the puck on the net and it bounced out to Geno who buried it.  2-1 Pens. But just 35 seconds later Jussi Jokinen would answer for the Hurricanes to tie the score.

Dennis Seidenberg gave Carolina their first lead of the series when he intercepted an errant clearing pass from Kris Letang and knuckled a puck in.  Carolina would take the 3-2 edge into the first period but it wouldn't last, as Max Talbot streaked in and unleashed a shot by Ward to tie the game 3:10 into the second.

With just 7.3 seconds left in the second period Chris Kunitz finally got off the schnide when he stepped up and buried the puck.

The third period might as well have been the Evgeni Malkin show.  Even though Patrick Eaves scored to tie the game when Ryan Bayda out worked Sergei Gonchar and Philippe Boucher down low and made a nice pass, Geno quickly took over.  With the crowd beginning to chant his name, Malkin raced in and scored the eventual game winner.

The next goal came off of a move that Malkin and Crosby occasionally try; they'll carry the puck around the net, curl up and throw a blind backhand shot to the net.  Sometimes it sails way high.  Sometimes it doesn't elevate enough and the goalie makes a routine save.  But sometimes, just sometimes it's a perfect top-shelf shot that leaves the goalie shrugging his shoulders.  6-4 Pens.

Kennedy capped the scoring with an empty netter and then the extracurriculars began.  Bayda hit Letang up high and they fought.  Somewhere in that, Miroslav Satan* dropped the gloves with Patrick Eaves and did some work.  In the dying moments Bill Guerin and Joni Pitkanen almost squared off and Craig Adams and Seidenberg exchanged coincidental minors.

*who only has one career fight, which happened last year, against Petr Sykora of the Penguins of all people

  • For the 11th consecutive game the Penguins out-shot their opponent.  It was another large margin tonight, 42-28.  Pittsburgh's aggressiveness has paid off in the past and did again.  Throw pucks to the net and good things happen.  Talbot's goal, Kunitz's goal and Malkin's second were all ones that Ward probably had a chance on.
  • Evgeni Malkin: 3 goals, 1 assist, +2, a hit, a giveaway and a takeaway.  Geno did it all and clearly was the best player on the ice.
  • As mentioned above, nice to see Chris Kunitz get involved.  A goal to break his drought and two big assists.  Kunitz definitely won't be gripping the stick as tight, which'll be a good thing going forward.
  • 24 stops on 28 saves doesn't sound that impressive for Marc-Andre Fleury.  But Carolina came out strong and crashed the net, the traffic either aided or gave them the first three goals they scored.  Fleury still did well to make some big saves, including a sliding stop with about 4:30 left in the game when the Hurricanes (noted comeback kids) could have mounted something if that goes in.  Fleury made a couple of flashy, big time saves.  Didn't seem like Ward matched him at the other end.
  • Eric Staal 0 goals, 1 assist, -2 and 35% faceoff win rate.  Jordan Staal 0g, 1a, +1 and 60% faceoff win.  About even.  The difference is that the Pens still have Crosby and Malkin....Carolina doesn't.

Happy times for the Penguins, they've proven they can skate with the 'Canes and score on Cam Ward when they get good shots.  But Washington was feeling pretty good about themselves when they won two games at home.  Point being, nothing's over or finished yet.  Carolina has a great crowd ready for them in Raleigh and will come out even stronger and looking to protect their home-ice.

As I always like to say about a seven game series: at first, take care of your home ice and steal one of the roads and you got a very envious 3-1 stronghold in place.  Step 1 completed by taking care of home ice.  Now time to go on the road (where the Pens have won 4 of the past 6 games) to try and get business taken care of.

10 wins down, 6 more to go!!

 

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