Penguins win, sweep Hurricanes

Posted: May 27, 2009

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are headed back to the Stanley Cup finals.

Max Talbot had a goal and an assist to help the Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, last night in Raleigh, N.C., to complete a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference final. Pittsburgh lost to Detroit last year in a six-game final series.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin also scored, and Craig Adams added an empty-net goal. Crosby had two assists to extend his point streak to six games, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 shots.

The Penguins outscored Carolina 20-9 in the series, netted at least three goals in each game, and trailed for a total of only 20 minutes, 30 seconds.

If the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings beat Chicago in the West final, it will set up the first finals rematch since Edmonton and the Islanders met in 1983 and 1984.

"Just knowing what to expect, hopefully there'll not be too much surprises," Crosby said. "We talk about experience all the time, but it is hard to learn."

Last year, the Penguins stuck to superstitious tradition and didn't touch the Eastern Conference championship trophy. This time Crosby picked it up and skated away with it.

"We didn't touch it last year and things did not go the way we wanted to, so we switched it up," Crosby said.

Dan Bylsma, who took over for fired coach Michel Therrien in February when the Penguins were in danger of missing the playoffs, will be making his first trip to the finals.

"He has been great for us, brought a great attitude, turned our game around and brought an uptempo game and we went after teams more," Crosby said.

Eric Staal scored for the first time in the series for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward made 21 saves but lost a playoff series for the first time in his NHL career.

Noteworthy

* Blackhawks right wing Martin Havlat and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin skipped the team's practice yesterday, but were set to make the trip to Detroit for Game 5 of the Western Conference final tonight. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said both would be evaluated after this morning's pregame skate.

In Detroit, Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were held out of practice by the Red Wings. Detroit coach Mike Babcock will wait until tonight to decide whether they will play.

* The Edmonton Oilers have hired Pat Quinn as coach. The 66-year-old has been out of the NHL since being fired as coach of the Maple Leafs after the 2005-06 season. Former Rangers coach Tom Renney and former Oilers player Kelly Buchberger were hired as assistant coaches. Quinn replaces the fired Craig MacTavish; he also coached the Flyers, Los Angeles and Vancouver. *

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