The Cardiac Canes have the Pittsburgh Penguins right where they want them.
Losing the first game of a playoff series for Carolina is like the late
The Hurricanes clearly had to jerk their brains into the Eastern Conference final after spending the first 15 or so minutes of the first period apparently reminiscing about their Game 7 overtime win last week in the new Boston Garden. But after allowing Pittsburgh goals 84 seconds apart in the middle of that first period -- a
Looking past a plethora of sloppy line changes and a first-period leg injury to
But the most encouraging sign, at least until he had a leg-on-leg with the Penguins'
The first game of any series often is an introduction, never more than between two teams that don't know each other all that well - with the exception of the Staal brothers, Eric and Pittsburgh's
But if the Penguins had one eye on a possible Stanley Cup rematch with the Detroit Red Wings, they better refocus on what is in front of them. This series won't be played on paper or won on reputation. And now that Carolina ritually has ceded the opener, things could really get interesting. There is no team that deserves its playoff mulligan more than Carolina.