Round 2, Game 4 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators

After rescuing victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday night, the Senators (and the Penguins) have had two days to recover and set up the game plan for Wednesday’s Game 4.

VS

Penguins lead Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semi-Final  2-1

7:30 PM

TV: CBC   RADIO: TEAM1200

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Daniel Alfredsson‘s shorthanded goal with less than 30 seconds left sent the game to overtime, and Colin Greening‘s winner in the second extra frame ensured that Craig Anderson‘s stellar 49 save performance would not be wasted.  Ottawa avoided falling behind 3-0 in the series, getting back into it with the 2-1 OT win.

 

May 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Chris Neil (25) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Tyler Kennedy (48) at the face-off circle during the second period in game two of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jason Spezza, OTT – His impact was noticeable despite being limited in playing time in his first game back since late January.  The telling moment that Spezza was at least capable of playing hard minutes came in the first overtime period where he took a jarring hit along the boards and seemed none the worse for the wear.  Now it is just a matter of getting timing and game shape back and Spezza will be an true impact player.

James Neal, PIT – One of the most gifted snipers in the game has been extremely quiet so far this post-season, making one wonder when he is going to break out with a big game.  The 10 leading goal scorer this season has just 1 in 7 playoff games.

 

TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME

1. Doubting Tomas – While Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun went save for save with Anderson on Sunday, you would have to say Vokoun was the goalie more susceptible to the bad goal.  He was shaky at times and with a little better finish Ottawa could have easily run away with the game early on and not let it get down to a last minute goal and OT winner.  Ottawa should pepper him early, and hit the net.  Even if it hits him, the likelihood of a juicy rebound is very high.

2. Encore! – Each home playoff game this season has been more exciting and/or dramatic than the previous one.  What can these teams to for an encore?

3.  Officially Bad – This week has been a bad one for officials, and not just in this series.  They are under intense scrutiny with a number of controversial calls affecting almost every game.  It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are sitting on, you can’t be happy with the way the games are being called, due to lack of consistency from game to game, and especially within the same game. This needs to improve for the league’s integrity as a whole.

 

PARTING SHOT

There are rumors swirling that Mark Stone might draw into the lineup, probably in place of Cory Conacher on the Jason Spezza line.  The big body and offensive upside might be a decent fit, as Conacher has been a pest but hasn’t shown a ton of offensive flair.  He has been in the right place at the right time in certain situations, but hasn’t really been a factor against Pittsburgh, playing a team low 13:22 in four and a half periods on Sunday.

ENJOY THE GAME!

Topics: Cory Conacher, Game Day Preview, James Neal, Jason Spezza, Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Playoffs

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