Game Report: Pens Ice Sens 5-1

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(source: DARREN BROWN/OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY)

Your Ottawa Senators took to the ice Tuesday night hoping to give the home crowd something to cheer about. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins had other plans. Coming in lacking star power with Crosby and Malkin out of the line-up, the Penguins have been battling for the last two months and have been able to compete for the conference lead. Coming off a loss to Buffalo on Sunday night, Ottawa and Craig Anderson looked to rebound with a good showing.

With both teams dealing with injuries and icing many AHL call-ups, this was a pretty even match-up on paper. But when the game begun, it was clear that Ottawa was not on the same level as Pittsburgh. The first period was fast-paced as both teams traded chances but the Pens were the only team to get on the score sheet. Off an amazing tip, Tyler Kennedy  scored his 16th of the year to put the Pens up 1-0. The Penguins were the aggressors all period as they out shot Ottawa 13 – 6.

The Pens came out of the gate quickly in the second as Jordan Staal scored 1:21 into the period off a goal mouth scramble. However, less than a minute later, Ryan Shannon  scored on the powerplay to get Ottawa on the board. But just as fast as Ottawa got back into the game, they fell into a deeper hole as Ben Lovejoy scored to regain Pittsburgh’s two goal advantage. Pittsburgh poured it on as super pest Matt Cooke scored his 12th of the year to put the Pens up 4-1 after 40 minutes.

Only mustering three shots in the second period, it seemed that Ottawa had packed it in. But in the third period, Ottawa threw everything they had at the Pittsburgh net. Brent Johnson stopped all 13 shots Ottawa had, and Zbynek Michalek put the game out of reach with his third goal in his last four games. With a 5-1 final, Ottawa has now lost the most games in front of their home crowd.

The Positives

Ryan Shannon was Ottawa’s best player last night. Scoring his seventh of the year, Shannon has excelled with his increased ice time since the trade deadline. Playing for a contract next season, Shannon is proving to be a valuable and versatile asset to the team.

Chris Neil had a great game as he threw many hits and tried to spark the team all night. He even threw down with Pittsburgh tough guy, Deryk Engelland. Check out the video. I call it a draw.

 (Video courtesy of HockeyFights.com)

The Negatives

Craig Anderson had a second bad game in a row and his third in his last five games. Allowing five goals, Anderson seems to be struggling behind his weak defense.

Zach Smith  took three minor penalties last night that stifled any of Ottawa’s momentum. He needs to be aggressive to be effective in this league, but he also needs to be smart.

Here are the game highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Chris Kunitz – quietly had a three point night with three helpers.

Second Star: Jordan Staal – had a goal and an assist and was dominate all night.

Third Star: Brent Johnson – the best back-up goalie in the league made 21 saves last night and made many amazing saves.

Ottawa was out played last night in every fashion. Even with their depleted roster, Pittsburgh was able to dominate Ottawa. Next up are the New Jersey Devils who Ottawa knocked off a week ago on their road trip. It’s going to be a battle as NJ is fighting for their playoff lives and need the win desperately. “Til next time, GO SENS GO!!! 

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