So far, the Stanley Cup finals are following a pattern familiar to the Minnesota North Stars.

After defeating Pittsburgh in the opener, Minnesota lost 4-1 Friday night to the Penguins in Game 2. The North Stars have now won the first game and lost the second of all four of their playoff series.They return home for Game 3 Sunday night and Game 4 Tuesday night in the best-of-seven series. Minnesota has won seven straight at the Met Center.

"We had them down, we wanted to win another game," Minnesota center Bobby Smith said. "But I don't think home ice is a great advantage in this series. Hopefully, we'll be able to play a great game Sunday night. "

After losing the opener, the Penguins were satisfied to go to Minnesota with a split at home.

"Minnesota is a great team," said Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Coffey, who returned Friday after missing 10 games with a broken jaw. "It's good that we gained a split. They're tough at home, and we have to be ready."

Center Mike Modano, who scored Minnesota's goal in Game 2, said the North Stars will be much tougher at home.

"The way we have been playing at home is just great," Modano said. "I am sure that we are going to slow them down, come out and try to hit them off their game again.

"We have a lot more to prove. We have not played these last two games at our best. We have a lot more to show them. The guys are hungry. They're going to see a different North Star team at the Met."

Pittsburgh Coach Bob Johnson said the Penguins played better than they did in Game 1, a 5-4 loss.

"It was a game we had to win," Johnson said. "It's a best-of-five series now heading into Minnesota."

Pittsburgh left winger Phil Bourque said the Penguins' hard hitting knocked the North Stars off their game and helped cause them to take eight penalties.

"You have to do what you need to win the game," said Bourque.