Let's just get this out of the way straight out of the gate -- the Carolina Hurricanes are done. Kaput. They've had a great run through the post-season and have definitely provided us fans with some of the most exciting games of the playoffs. But they're being outclassed through and through by the young Penguins.
Carolina felt it was a good idea to try and agitate Malkin, and they awoke a guy who had just come off of a luke-warm, at best, series. With a hat trick in Game 2 and two more goals Game 3, Malkin now has 6 straight multiple point games. He is playing out of his mind right now, for sure. Carolina just looks like a team coming off yet another 7 game series and they weren't completely prepared for the intensity of the Penguins. Being down 3-0, the Hurricanes I believe are near the giving up point. And I don't mean that in a condescending way, but the crowd and the attitude of the players really gives a lot away when it comes to their emotions.
The post-period player interview (I can't remember the player) was almost as depressing as listening to Radiohead in a dark room. If that player's sentiment was shared in the locker room, then the 'Canes might as well just stay at home for the next game. There's no way they have the energy when four games in a row against a Penguins team that is apparently seeing a goal twice the normal size. Malkin's no-look backhand goal in Game 2 was really the point where the Hurricanes had to shrug their shoulders and shake their heads. The 'Canes have put in a good season and a good post-season run as previously stated, but the season is over. Finishing this series is simply a formality now for the Penguins. The Bruins must be sitting at home right now, kicking themselves about missing the opportunity to come out on the ice and try to put up a stronger opposition against Pittsburgh.
If the Pens could sweep the series, I think they would have some pretty good relaxtion time while watching the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks work each other. That series, in my opinion, is much more evenly matched. I'm a little skeptic about whether or not the Stanley Cup Finals will be a rematch of last year, but the Blackhawks were able to pull out a big one last night. Perhaps they can grind Detroit into a 6 or 7 game series and tire the talented Detroit players out. If Detroit can get into a war of attrition with Chicago, I think that Pittsburgh will go into the Finals with, at least, the initial advantage in the momentum department. Even though home ice would go to Detroit in the Finals, Pittsburgh can at least go into Joe Louis Arena with a great amount of confidence in their ability to create a myriad of offensive chances and, hopefully, play solid enough defense to not overwork Fleury.