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Ken Medlin

There's speed, and there's Penguin Speed

Posted May 24, 2009

There’s speed, and then there’s Penguin Speed.

In nature, that’s not all that impressive. But in the NHL, Penguin Speed is a difference maker.

Pittsburgh’s two top lines, centered by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, have another gear the Canes simply cannot match. Carolina has, at times, kept pace with the Penguins during this series.

But over the span of 60 minutes, the relentless March of the Pittsburgh Penguins tends to wear even the quickest of teams down, and the Hurricanes are not immune.

Don’t get me wrong, the Canes are no slumbering sloths. They can skate with just about anybody. But the Pens are not "just about anybody." They bring two of the top players of their generation in Crosby and Malkin, and when they’re on their game – as they have been over three games against Carolina – they can be overwhelming.

There’s just no margin for error in this series. The Canes have had a chance to win each of the last two games, trailing by only one goal in the final period of Games 2 and 3. But when the Pens hit the booster rockets, they take off at lightning speed.

They remind me of the ’06 Canes in that respect. Three years ago, it was Carolina that had the speed advantage. The Canes were faster than just about every team they faced. Now Pittsburgh has that kind of firepower, and the Canes are the teams bearing the brunt.

Carolina’s run has been truly amazing this season, and for all we know they have one more trick up their sleeve in the form of a dramatic four-game comeback.

But let’s give credit where credit is due. The Pens are simply playing at a different level right now, and the results are on the scoreboard.

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  • Gunnstigator May 24, 7:41 a.m.

    I'd have to agree that the Pens are playing at a different level right now; certainly different than the regular season. The Canes and Pens seemed to have similar regular seasons. Both struggled and fired their coaches, both came into the playoffs as the hottest teams in the NHL. I'm hoping for another miracle on Tuesday. If the Canes could put together three good periods, they can win. Go Canes! Once more chance!

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