Game Recap – OTT @ PIT – Anderson Struggles Again

Steve Sullivan celebrates after scoring the Penguins 4th goal of the game (Photo Source: AP)

Pre-Game Warmup

This game marked the first Canadian opponent for Sidney Crosby in his 3rd game back from his concussion injury. He’s coming off a 3-2 OT loss to the St. Louis Blues in which he was held scoreless after a 4 point performance in his first game this season. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are coming off a successful Western Canadian road trip in which they went 2-0-1 and have since had a four day layoff.

This was the first meeting between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Sens. Both teams would dress their #1 goalies for this tilt at the Consol Energy Center, with Craig Anderson in nets for Ottawa and Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh.

The First Period

This was another first period that Anderson would like to forget (the other being the Nov. 11 loss to Buffalo). The Senators started off the period well, with Kaspars Daugavins potting his 3rd of the year off a rebound just 1:19 into the contest. However, the rest of the period would be all Pittsburgh. Just 27 seconds later, Crosby would get his first point of the night on a nice feed to Chris Kunitz who would have the wide open net. Less than two minutes later Tyler Kennedy would score off his own rebound from behind the goal line (with Crosby notching an assist as well). It was definitely a goal that Anderson would want back. Shortly after, Zack Smith would take a penalty while on the PK tripping Kris Letang 200 feet from his own net. This led to a Penguins 5 on 3 powerplay and they would be quick to capitalize. At the 7:21 mark, on an attempted cross crease pass, Chris Phillips would inadvertently tip the puck into his own net, giving Steve Sullivan his 4th of the year (as well as Crosby’s 3rd assist of the night). The misery would continue for Ottawa with Evgeni Malkin finding himself alone in the slot and wristing one by a frozen Craig Anderson. That would mark the end of Anderson’s night and Alex Auld would take his place between the pipes to finish the period down 4-1.

The Second Period

The Penguins would build on their lead in the second, with Pascal Dupuis finding himself wide open in front of the net after a lucky bounce to wrist one past Auld at the 3:45 mark. However, the Senators would answer back on a delayed penalty with Jared Cowen earning his 2nd NHL goal on a slap shot from the point. Ottawa would almost cut the lead to two on a powerplay late in the period with Jason Spezza ringing one off the post. Instead they still found themselves down three goals, 5-2.

The Third Period

Like in the second, the Pens and Sens ended up exchanging goals. Pittsburgh struck first at the 8:41 mark with Jordan Staal finding the back of the net while playing 4 on 4. With less than four minutes remaining, Erik Condra would sneak a wrist shot top corner on Fleury for his 2nd of the year and end the game 6-3 in favor the Penguins. At one point during the period it almost seemed like a brawl would break out after Nick Foligno fell over Fleury leading to several cross-checks from Crosby and an elbow to Foligno’s head to boot. Nevertheless, other than a few minor scrums to finish the period no fights ended up occuring.

+ Pluses +

+ Senators Third Line: The Senators Bingo line of Kaspars Daugavins, Zack Smith, and Erik Condra continue to impress. They have shown great chemistry together and notched 2 of the Sens goals tonight. This could likely be the Sens third line for many more years to come.

- Minuses -

- Craig Anderson: Anderson just wasn’t sharp tonight. With four goals against in under 10 minutes of play, he put the Sens in hole they couldn’t get out of. He finished the night with an unimpressive .500 SV%. However, Anderson has shown that he can bounce back quickly. I would expect to see him in nets against Carolina on Sunday.

Game Highlights

Will post when available

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Tim Kennedy – 1G 2A
** Evgeni Malkin - 1G 1A
*** Sidney Crosby - 0G 3A

Final Thoughts

The Ottawa Senators didn’t play a particularly bad game today. However, the play of Craig Anderson put the game out of reach for this young team. An awful 2nd goal against as well as an early 5 on 3 powerplay for the Penguins would contribute to their four goal outburst in the first. This is the second time in November that Anderson has been pulled less than 10 minutes into a game. Hopefully it’s not a trend developing for him. Ottawa’s powerplay continues to struggle as well, going 0/4 tonight. It’s something they’ll have to turn around if they plan on getting some wins. The Senators hope home ice will help when they finally return to Scotiabank Place on Sunday when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at 5PM. Lastly, don’t forget to cast your votes for Daniel Alfredsson and your other favorite Senators for the All Star game in Ottawa!

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