The Carolina Hurricanes get their fourth — and perhaps final — chance to make a dent in the Penguins armor, hosting Pittsburgh in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals series they trail 3-0.
Through three games, everything that could go wrong for the Canes has. From series-opening injuries to Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole, to defensive lapses and breakdowns, to confidence and style-of-play issues, Carolina has yet to get their skates under them. But that doesn't take away from what the Penguins have been able to do, specifically superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Don't believe what Luke DeCock tells you: that the Canes have been beaten by Pittsburgh's supporting cast rather than their two dynamos. It's been Carolina's inability to stop Malkin and Crosby that has put the Hurricanes in a 3-0 hole. But the blame falls to all corners: the defense that has, at times, allowed the duo to walk in on Cam Ward; the forwards that haven't given the help needed; and Ward's own play.
While many have pointed to lack of goals from Eric Staal, Ray Whitney, Cole and others, the problem hasn't been scoring but defending. If Crosby and Malkin can at least be held in check (one goal, maybe two), Carolina will get the chance to test Marc-Andre Fleury — who hasn't had to do much after Game 1 — and have a shot at winning to force a trip back the Steel City. If they can't contain "SidGeni," expect Carolina's inspiring run to come to an end.
Carolina should have their full team available for tonight, and I wouldn't expect any changes from the Pens.
Game time is at 7:30 p.m. and can will be broadcast by Versus (in HD) and 99.9 The Fan.