It was a game where Ottawa needed to rebound in a big way to get this series evened up heading back home. It was a game where they didn’t accomplish that. Thanks to a Sidney Crosby hat trick, the Penguins took both games of their home stand and have a series lead of 2-0.
Much the same way the last game started, this game was all offensive zone pressure from Pittsburgh. The only times Ottawa touched the puck in the first five minutes was to dump it passed center and make a change. 3 minutes into the game Sidney Crosby blew past Erik Karlsson and sniped a 5 hole shot past Craig Anderson giving Pittsburgh another 1-0 lead early. Ten minutes into this game and another bad Kyle Turris penalty and Ottawa has about 10 seconds of legitimate zone possession time, look for more about this in the Observations section.
Just after the 10 minute mark Marc Methot takes a penalty on the new, and terrible, interference penalty and the Penguins power play goes back to work. And finally, we get the penalty kill we had the entire year. The pressure on the power play was all the penalty killers who snuck a few chances and breaks but only pulled momentum through the penalty kill. Taking some fo the momentum, Ottawa draws a penalty and gets their chance on the Power Play. 12 Seconds into the Power Play (notices the caps) Kyle Turris goes and totally redeems himself. Sneaking the puck in five hole from the goal line, this game is tied back up at 1-1.
The Senators would finally start mounting some pressure, only to have it backfire on them. With all three forwards in deep, the puck turns over the Penguins turn up the ice 3 on 2. Sidney Crosby leading the charge gets an ugly goal off the body of Anderson. But ugly goals win games, and the Penguins take a 2-1 lead with only a few minutes left in the first.
Early into the second period, the visibly frustrated King K takes a weak hooking penalty and the ever dangerous Pens PP goes back to work. With that, 1:15 minutes into the second period, Crosby notches a hat trick and the Penguins are ahead 3-1, and much like the last game, this game is getting away from Ottawa. Anderson gets the pull and Robin Lehner comes in to try to stem the flow. Colin Greening would blaze down the ice about a minute or so later and Greening unloads a perfectly placed shot (Glenn Healy’s words, not mine) and the spark may just be igniting the Senators. The next shift is now visibly chippy on the ice and the whistles are now away for the refs.
A wide open net on a Penguins 2 on 1 and the compete level of Robin Lehner goes up to a notch we haven’t seen before. The net went from no Lehner, to “OH MY GOD LEHNER” and Jarome Iginla is flat out denied keeping this game at 3-2. Evgeni Malkin gets crunched into the boards by Guillaume Latendresse and he heads to the box to serve his time, putting the Penguins back onto the Power Play. While they don’t score on the Power Play, a blast from the point and a high deflection from Brenden Morrow, and this game is 4-2 and were back to a 2 goal game. A handful of seconds after the goal, Ottawa takes a penalty behind the Pittsburgh net and are back to the penalty kill. Half way through the game and the team has now spent about a third of it on the penalty kill and have mustered 9 shots through the game. A Colin Greening breakaway is denied by Tomas Vokoun with a slick pad save and some nice stickwork from Malkin. The most of the pressure turns in Ottawa’s favor now with them keeping the Penguins flat on their feet in their own zone. The stickwork and holds got a little crazy for the net minute of Ottawa zone pressure, yet no goals and no penalties.
With a few minutes left in the period, Cory Conacher gets a breakaway off a blocked shot, but receives only a two pad stack from Vokoun. While the offense possibilities are there, the capitalization just isn’t present for Ottawa.
2 minutes into the third period, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau finds the lose puck in the goal mouth and sneaks it passed the line, with Vokoun way out of his net. The scramble and resulting goal means Ottawa is within 1 with a lot of time left in the third. Now its time for everything on net. Kitchen Sink. Cabinets. Dishes. Clothes. Beach Balls. Whatever you have, you throw it on net and start plugging. Luckily Colin Greening finds his way on the ice and he has been plugging away all game. This plugging leads a Power Play for the Sens. Despite the Power Play the boys couldn’t get anything done, but have titled the ice in their favor for at least a little bit. With nothing doing the game hits a bit of a stalemate as no one can get solid possession and no one is getting quality chance in front of the net, but still, Ottawa is hanging around, which is at least a positive for the team.
On a zone break in, the Senators once again fall victim to questionable officiating and find themselves once again on the penalty kill. While they managed to kill of the penalty they then found themselves with little time remaining. Despite a spirited effort, the Sens now find themselves down 2-0 in the series.
– The team has got to get out to a faster start. Games don’t start once the other team has scored, and if that mentality keeps it up, the team is going to find themselves golfing after a quick 4-0 exit in this series. The Pesky moniker is great, we all love it, but there comes a time when striking first is probably in the team’s best interest.
– Discipline. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, tonight was a beautiful display of how Pittsburgh draws penalties. You could question every call and non-call tonight but it doesn’t matter. This is a team that you have to play smart against. Not just aggressive, but there needs to be a thought process in how the attacking is done. Penalties will cripple a team, and when you give the Penguins 12 minutes of Power Play time in a 60 minute game, you’re going to find yourself in a hole.
– The Defense and the backcheck. Where are they? Did they make the trip to Pittsburgh? They’ve been all but invisible so far this series. It’s been weak chips behind the net after weak chip. It leads to defensive zone time and the inability to have a defensive zone exit, which I’ve harped about for the majority of the season. If you can’t get out of your zone, you can’t get in their zone.
– Good comeback. The team didn’t quit which is important. Now we draw back in on home ice, and can hopefully claw our way back into this series. Pittsburgh has shown that their defense isn’t fantastic, and the goalie is questionable. Now it’s a matter of shutting down their offense.
SENSHOT STAR OF THE GAME:
Colin Greening – Greening had a grind and plug game tonight and it was extremely effective. He was in corners, in front of the net and bursting where he had to. He had a great game. Also. Lehner played amazing.
The series comes to Ottawa on Sunday night for Game 3. All speculation will be whether or not Jason Spezza will draw into the lineup or not. The clock is ticking down and the Senators could sure use the added fire power in this series.