When 4th and 5th seeded teams collide in the playoffs many expect the series to go the distance. This couldn't have been further from the truth with the way the Penguins manhandled the Hurricanes. The team only needed the minimum required games to send the Canes back to Raleigh for a long summer on the links. Pittsburgh tickled the twine 19 times while only allowing Carolina to score 8 goals in the series. Much of the Pens success in the first round is due to the play of forwards Jeff Skinner and Bo Horvat. The two tallied a combined 16 points in only 4 games.
"They carried their lines every night. They were dangerous almost every shift and that's what we expect from those two. " said assistant coach Mark Recchi.
Seeds of doubt were planted earlier this year when the Penguins only managed to muster 5 out of a possible 22 points in February. Much of their struggles were pegged on Matt Murray who was pulled more often than not in games that he started. Thankfully for the black and gold, Murray showed up ready to play stopping 91.1% of the rubber fired his way.
"The defence is doing a great job of getting in the lanes and tying up sticks. They made it easy for me." said the young netminder.
The Penguins will have some time to rest up with many of the first round series looking to go down to the wire. The extra days off should allow defender Seth Jones to get to 100% before the start of round two. He was instrumental in the games that he played and one would expect that trend to continue moving forward.