Round 3, Game 3: Canes get their chance at home

(Promoted from fanposts - FrankD)

Tomorrow night the Eastern Conference Finals heads to Carolina where the Hurricanes will be looking to get back into the series with the Pittsburgh Penguins in what many would consider to be a must-win situation for the Canes. The question is, do the Canes have any hope of getting back into this series?

Everyone seems to come back to the thought that Cam Ward is the key for Carolina getting back in this series and that is partly true. Ward has been below average at best so far with an .875 save percentage and a goals against average roughly around 4.5. That doesn't mean the series is over. Ward has tremendous career numbers against Pittsburgh in the regular season (9-3-1, 2.43, .916). If he gets back into that form, it's possible that Carolina wins at least one game at home but not if some other things happen.

The big names for the Canes this series have been nonexistent. Eric Staal has no goals, one assist and is a -3 rating. Erik Cole has no goals, one assist, and an even rating. Ray Whitney has no goals, two assists, and a -2 rating. Scott Walker has no goals, one assist, and a -3 rating. The list continues. The leading scorers for the Canes are Chad LaRose and Rod Brind'Amour with two points a piece. That's not good when on the other side you have Matt Cooke with as many points as those two combined and leading scorer for the Pens, Evgeni Malkin with triple the points of those two respectively.

Yes, Cam Ward has never lost a playoff series. Yes, Carolina gets the next two games at home. Yes, the Canes have last change the next two games so Paul Maurice can get Eric Staal away from Jordan Staal. No, the Canes have not come back from two games down this playoff season. No, the Canes do not have the depth to overcome their injuries. And no, the Canes have no answer for Evgeni Malkin.

It is most likely a stretch to say that the Pens will sweep the Canes. That just doesn't happen that often in Conference Finals. However, at this point, it is also a stretch to say that Cam Ward will still be undefeated in playoff series after the end of next week.

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