The Pens had a gear that the 'Canes couldn't find in this series, and tonight was no different. Like Game 1 and Game 3, the game started even, with an edge to the 'Canes even, and Staal, who was on a mission tonight, scored the first goal. But then the Pens tied it up and went ahead on a flukey goal that bounced off a 'Cane and went up and over a standing Ward. The 'Canes never stopped playing, and had some chances in the third even, but Fleury shut that down and did what he had to do. In fact he reminded me of Ward in the NJ series.
Other than Malkin and Crosby, who are in a class by themselves with Ovechkin hanging there too, the Pens are not appreciably a better team than the Hurricanes (we saw that in the regular season), but they played better when they needed to, made few mistakes, and the 'Canes made some choices as to how they decided to take on the Pens that would haunt them. The series was closer than the scores and the sweep would imply, but not so close that the Pens ever seemed worried about it; they were the better team and were usually in control of the pace and the flow of the game, which was the Hurricanes' undoing.
If someone had said to me in January, just after the coaching change and with the 'Canes floundering a bit, that Carolina would get to the ECF and be swept by the Pens, but that they'd first beat #1 seed Boston and Division Champs NJ, both in Game 7's, i think that i and most fans would have taken it, and i will take it now. the last half of the season was great to watch and the playoffs were amazing, with literally unbelievable moments in each series. What's funny is that our cable box / DVR is actually broken -- the HD jack is messed up -- but i don't want to take it back to Time Warner to get a good one because i have both Game 7's on there and i need to watch them again!
the Pens i am assuming will be playing the Red Wings. and while i can not pull for the Red Wings, and usually take the stance that i want the team that beat us to go on to win to prove that we were beaten by the best team, when i see the Wings play, i see them mowing down the Pens like everyone else.
also WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?