Young Penguins reach the finals

From the Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Sid and the Kids are off to the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to a dominating run by a younger-than-young Pittsburgh Penguins team that has taken only two seasons to transform itself from one of the NHL's worst to one of its best.

Ryan Malone, the one Penguins player with firsthand memories of the team's two previous Stanley Cup appearances, scored twice and set up a third goal and Pittsburgh routed Philadelphia, 6-0, Sunday to win the Eastern Conference finals.

The Penguins, who dominated Game 5 from the start with Malone and Evgeni Malkin scoring in the first 10 minutes, will play the Detroit-Dallas winner for the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings take a 3-2 series lead into Dallas for Game 6 tonight.

"It's unbelievable just to realize we're four wins away," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "It hasn't really sunk in yet that these next few games are the Stanley Cup finals."

Marian Hossa had a goal and three assists, and Sidney Crosby, the 20-year-old captain of a team that was the Eastern Conference's worst two seasons ago, had two assists. Jordan Staal, only 19, scored his third goal in two games and fourth of the series.

Pascal Dupuis, an Atlanta teammate of Hossa's before the two were dealt to Pittsburgh at the trading deadline, also scored.

Pittsburgh, one of the youngest teams to play for a championship in any major pro sport, goes for the Cup for the first time since 1992, when Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux led the Penguins to their second title in two seasons. Malone was then the 12-year-old son of then-Penguins scouting director and former player Greg Malone.

For The Record Los Angeles Times Friday, May 23, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction NHL: A photo caption in Monday's Sports section described the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby as celebrating his power-play goal in Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Eastern Conference finals. Although the photo showed Crosby reacting to one of the Penguins' five goals in his team's win, he did not score a goal in the contest but had two assists.
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