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Pens have killer instinct on the road

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. — A team that twice has lost at home with a chance to clinch a series in the Stanley Cup playoffs probably has no reason to boast about its so-called killer instinct. However, the Penguins have shown exactly that over the past two postseasons.

"Kick 'em when they're down — it's a big thing," center Jordan Staal said Saturday morning prior to Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, which the Penguins led, 2-0.

The start to this series mirrored four previous ones since last postseason for the Penguins, who are 10-0 at Mellon Arena in Games 1 and 2. They have won each of those four previous series — in no small part because they returned home with a 3-1 lead in three. Only a four-game sweep of Ottawa in the opening round last year proved the exception.

"In this dressing room we know when there are big opportunities," Staal said. "I'm not sure why that is, but we do have players that know how to finish the job.

"It's more or less (us) just knowing when that opportunity comes to bury (an opponent). There are times in games - and sometimes when you look back those are the times in the series — where you know there is a turning point and you know you can really hurt their hope and take them down."

Prior to last night, the Penguins had gone 5-1 on the road over the past two postseasons with a chance to win the third game of a series.

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