Victory in Ottawa; Pens Take 2-1 Lead


There wasn’t much NOT to like about the Pens 4-2 win in Ottawa Sunday. Aside from a couple power-play goals allowed, I thought it was a superb performance from the visiting team – its best of the postseason thus far. I’m not saying it was perfect – PP could’ve been better (1-for-5) – but it was pretty damn good. The Pens now have a 2-1 series lead.

There were a couple of huge plays in this game, but the biggest (in my opinion) was M-A Fleury’s save early in the third. Daniel Alfredsson deflected a shot from the point that beat Fleury, but he was able to reach out with his stick and knock the puck away just before it crossed the goal line. Huge. That goes in, the Sens make it a one-goal game. Instead, a minute or two later Bill Guerin somehow gets behind Ottawa’s defense, take a feed from Chris Kunitz and scores to make it 4-1, giving the Pens a three-goal lead.

I thought Crosby and Malkin had great efforts. When they both score in a game, as they did Sunday, the Pens are 7-0 in the playoffs. What’s it mean? When 87 and 71 are both on, the Pens are almost impossible to beat. Fleury’s making everybody forget about Game 1. He’s stopped 39 of 42 shots since then and has looked good doing so.


1st Period
Alexei Ponikarovsky gave the Pens a 1-0 lead just 1:17 in. Great play by Dupuis on the boards to set it up. It was Alex P.’s first goal in 11 games. He must’ve been motivated by my latest post questioning his acquisition. With 40 seconds left, it looked like Ottawa tied it up. However, the correct call is made and the goal is disallowed. Peter Regin clearly used a kicking motion to direct the puck past Fleury. The refs gave the home team a gift after the period ended, penalizing Staal for a slash but completely ignoring the two-hander Chris Phillips delivered. Horrible call.

2nd Period
Mike Fisher scores on the gift PP, making it 1-1. The goal was set up off a nice feed from Regin, who I think has been the Sens best player so far this series. Ottawa was all over the Pens for the next four minutes, sustaining offensive-zone pressure. Malkin, however, collects the puck and leads a rush up ice. Talbot makes a great play to keep the play alive in front of the net, and Geno pokes it past Brian Elliott. I thought Malkin’s goal was a momentum-shifter. Crosby hammering Alfredsson with a huge open-ice hit was a nice sight, wasn’t it? Crosby scoring with under a minute in the period was even sweeter, though. Another great individual effort from Sid, who abused Andy Sutton on the play (added bonus). Shortly after Crosby’s goal, Bob Errey said: “That might be it for the Ottawa Senators.” At that point, I was convinced the Pens were going to lose the game.

3rd Period
Fleury save; Guerin scores (see above). Matt Cullen scored a PP goal with 7:02 left to make things more uncomfortable than necessary the rest of the way. The Pens had a huge penalty kill at the very end, limiting the Sens (who pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4) to no quality chances.

* The bodies were flying in this game, and I thought the Pens got the better of it. Great physical play from just about everybody.
* Elliott has not been good in net for Ottawa. He’s allowed 10 goals on 76 shots (.868 save percentage). Might we see a goaltending change for Game 4?
* Fedotenko was scratched again for Mike Rupp. I think it’s a good move, although I’d like to see Rupp get more ice time. I’d also like to see him pummel Chris Neil and /or Matt Carkner.
* In what may yet become a mainstay of my game recaps, the Bob Errey line of the night: “Sometimes toughness is receiving, not giving.” Huh?
* Gonchar’s played over 25 minutes in all three games. Amazing.
* FSN gave Alex P. player of the game, but I declare shenanigans. Crosby was the man for the second game in a row.
* Nice job by Jay McKee, who filled in admirably for Jordan Leopold. Let’s hope Leopold makes a quick recovery.
* Game 4 is Tuesday at 7:00. Looks like I’ll be dvr’ing “Lost.”