I'll admit it. I didn't really have any expectations (or any real excitement) heading into Monday's first game of the Eastern Conference finals. Sure, Pittsburgh and Carolina are good, but the real series, I figured, was Penguins-Capitals with the Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin Show.
It didn't take long to see this series should be fine, too.
Pittsburgh and Carolina continually pushed on offense, which almost always makes for good hockey. There were times it looked like they were on a pond, but not in a haphazard way. They just moved quick and found open ice with great passes and cuts, something you don't always see. It led to quality scoring chances every few minutes.
It also forced the goaltenders to be good, and both have that ability. Sabres observers know what Carolina's Cam Ward can do, since he helped eliminate them in 2006 on his way to the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smyth Trophy as playoff MVP. Marc-Andre Fleury was due to become a consistent force, and he made several stellar saves early Monday as the Penguins earned a 3-2 victory.
Makes you look forward to Game Two on Thursday.