Penguins knot series with 1-0 Game 2 victory over Senators
With the opportunistic Senators content to sit back, they barely tested Marc-Andre Fleury with just 22 shots.
But until you see it in person, see how consistently and religiously the Senators execute, it’s truly impossible to visualize. The other was the 4-2 win – including an empty net goal from Pageau – over the New York Rangers in Game 6 that clinched the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“Obviously you don’t want to feel it out anymore”, Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta said.
If there was any doubt what the reigning champs are up against, it has been completely removed now.
Crosby doesn’t believe the Penguins have to change much even though the Senators are “pretty committed to protecting their net”.
The Penguins will do everything they can to stop that from happening and the Senators will need to be nearly ideal if they want to win. Pretty, lateral passing plays will not beat the Senators.
“The reason Ottawa is where they are is because they’ve consistently outworked their opponent”, the executive said. “We don’t let too much go to our head”. It happened so quickly Anderson didn’t have enough time to reset, his left pad flailing as Pittsburgh’s game-long domination finally resulted in something tangible: a lead and a tie series. Anderson also was strong, stopping 28 of 29 Pittsburgh shots.
A day after preaching a more aggressive offensive approach, it was clear that Penguins coach Mike Sullivan’s message got through early on. They didn’t get to that early on, trailing in shots 10-8 after the first.
This isn’t a new problem for the Penguins. Though that’s still true even after a loss in Game 1, the Senators have been outplaying their expectations throughout the playoffs.
“We believe we have a good team and we have a deep team, and we have what it takes to win regardless of which guys are in our lineup”, Sullivan said, “I think this team has a chemistry”. “I’ve always been a believer that nothing breaks coverage down better than a shot on goal”. “It forces decision-making. If there’s hesitation – or sometimes there’s a duplication of jobs – that’s when opportunity presents itself”.
That’s one fix. The second is better execution against the 1-3-1 trap.
“Once they all commit to one side. the weak side D is wide open”, he said. His 11 points (5G + 6A) in 13 games is tops among Sens forwards and he’s now tied for the lead in playoff game-winning goals (with Jaden Schwartz and Jake Guentzel) with 3.
How will you be watching the game? “Mike Sullivan is a lot smarter than I am”. They played a near-perfect road game on Saturday against a powerhouse and they dictated the pace of play. “We believe in the way we play, and I’m sure they believe in the way they play”. Whatever is wrong – if anything – we know the Pens will need Crosby’s game to round back to the elite level he was at before the latest concussion. “It’s hard for the back defenseman to go back to pucks with two forwards on top of him”. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) stops a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin (71) during the first period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final with Mark Stone (61) defending in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey.
“We tried to limit them but the reality is that you’re not going to limit those guys to nothing”.
The Pens had the third-best power play in the National Hockey League in the regular season but went a pedestrian 0-for-5 against Ottawa in Game 1.
“I caught an edge (with a skate in the ice)”.