[By Derek Tarr]
Before game 4 started you knew that the Canes were going to come out blazing and throwing everything they had at the Pens and they did. They sustained pressure in the Pens zone for the opening moments of the game and all you could hope was that the Pens could stave it off. But at the 1:36 mark Eric Stall finally came out of exile and tucked a wrap around behind Flower. The Pens remained under siege for the first 6 minutes of the game but Fleury bailed us out and kept it a 1-0 game. At the 8:21 mark of the first Fedetenko got on the score sheet again, tipping in a beautiful shot/pass by Boucher. Tenks yet again puts in a huge goal when we needed it. From this point forward the Penguins owned the Canes, beating them to pucks, cycling the puck in the offensive zone , and taking the physical play to the Canes. With a little under 2 minutes to play in the first Mad Max gets contested break out of the zone and lets a innocent wrist shot go that get deflected up in the air towards Ward, and flutters over his glove and into the net. Welcome to the Thunderdome Cam.
The second period was more of the same from the first. Pens dominated the majority of the play and seemed to be sucking the life out of the Canes. Just before the halfway mark of the period Bill Guerin takes a holding call to cancel out a Penguins powerplay. Shortly after Guerin’s penalty ended, he found Crosby with a nice exit pass from the zone and hustled to create a 2 on 1, Crosby throws the puck across the goal mouth to G.I. Joe, Bill Guerin. 3-1 Pens. The rest of the period was a prolonged display of puck management by the pens
The third was pretty uneventful as the Penguins seemed content to puck handle at slowly drain the life out of the Hurricanes. The Canes brought pressure; the pens matched it, pretty much a microcosm of the series. With a little over 2 minutes to go the Hurricanes pulled ward and with time ticking down in the game Crosby and Craig Adams broke down the ice on a 2 on 1, Crosby passes up a chance to pad his stats and passes to Adams so he can rub in into his old team. He snaps home a wrister into the empty net. 4-1 Pens. Game Pens, Series Pens.
We are going dancing with lord Stanley once again. The Penguins handed the Canes their asses in every game this series and proved that they were worthy of the trip to the finals. After the Washington series all Penguins fans needed this flogging. The canes played their hearts out and gave all the had every night, unfortunately for them the Penguins had more. We need to all enjoy this one for a couple of days or for a week and half until the next round starts. No matter who we face I like our chances. Now for my awards.
Series MVP: Geno
What more can you say about this guy, he stands out on a roster of superstars and proves why he is one of the best players in the world. With 6 goals and 3 assists there isn’t much more he could have do
Series Goat: Cam Ward
All we could hear about before the series started was how good Cam Ward was and during the series all we heard was obscure stats about how good he was after losses. But surrendering 17 goals in 4 games we can pretty much say he blew this one. The ridiculous thing is that if he didn’t make some ridiculous saves the penguins could have scored 8 goals a game…..SCARY
Unsung Hero: Maxime “Mad Max” Talbot
Max has been my favorite penguin player because he reminds me of myself when I played. Undersized and works every second of every shift. Max will fight to make every tough play and was rewarded in this series with 3 goals.
P.S.: Me and my dad with the CUP in 92