Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators
Pittsburgh - 12-32-11 - 35 pts - Last in East
Ottawa - 35-12-5 - 75 pts - 2nd in East
Wow - the Pens make it until February without playing the Senators and then play them twice in three games. They also play the Sens twice in March, including the first game after the break.
The Senators were held in check by the Pens last time out for about 30 minutes. Then came the all-too-common letdown where one critical sequence costs them the game. This one, if you remember, was particularly painful, since they allowed two shorties on the same power play. This allowed the Senators to tie the game and completely take momentum away from the Pens.
Tonight, the task will be harder. The Pens will need to do the usual - stay out of the box and play great at even-strength. If they can do that, they'll have a chance. Of course, despite Michel Therrien's influence, the Pens haven't been able to avoid the penalties, even though some of them would seem simple to avoid (like, if you're behind the player, DON'T USE YOUR STICK). Hopefully they'll be able to strike the right balance between agression and playing it safe before too long. At this point, it's all for next season anyway.
Crosby should be active for this game, so that will help. I'm looking for a good road effort and either having the score tied or a single goal differential to start the third. That would give the Pens the chance to pull out some points.
One more thing - don't look now, but the Blues have pulled ahead of the Pens in overall points. Pittsburgh is currently the most likely to draw the #1 overall pick.
Let's go Pens!