Monday, May 18, 2009

Penguins vs Hurricanes

Both teams, who will square off in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series starting Monday night (7:30 p.m. ET) at Mellon Arena, made coaching changes during the regular season that helped spark a turnaround and avoid an early summer.

By the time the Stanley Cup playoffs began, Pittsburgh and Carolina were two of the hottest clubs entering the post-season.

The parallels don't end there.

The teams split the regular-season series 2-2. While the Penguins are known as a fast-break hockey squad, the Hurricanes have been applying the same up-tempo offence through the first two rounds.

And in Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who shares the top playoff spot with 21 points, and Hurricanes centre Eric Staal (nine goals), this series features two players who can take over a game in an instant.

"You're going to see fast hockey," said Sidney Crosby, who also leads the NHL's playoffs with 12 goals.

"Both teams really play similar styles. I've watched them play. Their D is in the play, they're quick up front, they attack [and] they don't sit back. I think that's similar to the way we like to play as well."

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