Touchdown Pittsburgh: Evgeni Malkin Blows Away Hurricanes

Jon NeelyAnalyst IMay 22, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MAY 21:  Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes with Kris Letang #58 and Evgeni Malkin #71 during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 21, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Cam Ward has quickly been gaining back the confidence back in this year's playoffs that he had during the Hurricane's Stanley Cup run in 2006.

Game Two in Pittsburgh may have been a slight set back.

After Crosby scored the opening goal for the sixth game in these playoffs, tying an NHL record, and Carolinamatched each of the next three Penguins goals, Evgeni Malkin single handedly took over the game.

And is going home with a few more hats.

His first career hat trick lifted the Pens to a 7-4 win, giving them a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, heading back to Carolina for Game Three.

Things really got interesting in the final few minutes, which ended up taking a lot longer than a few minutes, when a flurry of scrums broke out repeatedly.

Hurricanes' Ryan Baydapushed things over the edge when he cross-checked defender Kris Letang in the face, warranting himself a match penalty, which means the NHL has to review the play and decide whether it is one that is cause for suspension.

If that was not enough, Miroslav Satan and Patrick Eaves dropped the gloves—yes, things certainly got out of control late in Pittsburgh Thursday night.

Now the series shifts over to Carolina for the next two, but if things keep up the way they are, the Hurricanes could come up just short not only in the games, but in the series.

With both Crosby and Malkin playing arguably the best hockey of their lives, the Penguins are not going to be a team the Canes can go goal-for-goal with, as they have found out in the first two games.

And with Eric Staal and Ray Whitney, the team's best offensive talent, seemingly unable to crack the wall that has been Marc-Andre Fluery, this series could be wrapped up quicker than Canes fans want.

The home crowd in Carolina will help, as the Cane-iacs will be out in full force to cheer on their troops, but with the Penguins ability to play the majority of the game with either Malkin or Crosby on the ice, the folks wearing red will have to do a lot more than just hurl hateful comments towards the Penguin's best.

At this point, the only hope the Hurricanes have of stopping Malkin from scoring, is if he gets sick of watching his parents make-out on the jumbo-tron after every one of his goals.

Something tells me, though, that he'll be able to deal with it long enough to kiss the Hurricanes good-bye.