Saturday, April 14, 2007

Penguins 4, Senators 3

The Pens were able to come from behind to beat the Senators today. The series is now tied at 1-1 and heading back to Pittsburgh. The game was absolutely critical. Had the Pens returned home down 2-0, you may have been able to stick a fork in them. Instead, they faced adversity and beat it.

The Pens were up 1-0 after the first period. Ryan Whitney managed a lucky power play goal (lucky because it bounced off the leg / skate of a Sens defense and behind Emery.

The Sens scored twice in the second to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. The second goal was particularly nice - a tic-tac-toe play on the power play that you could see coming about three passes in advance. I imagine that Fleury could see it coming too, but was pretty much helpless to do anything about it.

The Pens tied the game early in the third on the power play, thanks to Gary Roberts. The Sens took the lead 3-2 on a nice shot by Chris Kelly that Fleury couldn't do much about. Ryan Whitney probably gave Kelly a bit more room to shoot than he should have.

The Pens then made the vaunted strength of the Senators, the 5 on 5 play, look like a weakness. They notched the tying goal and the winning goal in a 2:10 span that may have restored the CHOKERS!! label to the Sens, but I'm not ready to go that far yet.

The tying goal was the result of a nice hit behind the net by Ouellet, followed up by an absolute Freight Train Hit by Gary Roberts. That freed Ouellet to dish the puck to Staal, who was standing all alone in front of Ray Emery. Staal buried the puck and the game was tied.

The winning goal came following a broken stick on a shot attempt by Alfredsson. Malkin brought the puck up, got it to Recchi, who zipped it to Crosby standing at the post to the left of Emery. Sid knocked the puck in with the shaft of his stick, just above the blade. Not an easy play. A great goal when the Pens needed it badly.

So who showed up to play today?
  • Gary Roberts - he was huge in the later parts of the game, scoring a goal and helping to setup another one. He led by example, and hit everything that moved. Great game by Mr Roberts.
  • Sidney Crosby - scored the goal the Pens needed, when they needed it. He also won 11 of 14 faceoffs, which is superb.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury - made several big time saves. None of them was bigger than the save on Spezza (I think it was Spezza...) with 13 seconds left, when he stopped a nearly point blank shot from right in front of the net. He could easily have been one of the three stars.
  • Penguins penalty killers - they shut down the Sens, allowing only one goal against despite lots of chances against.
Who missed the wake-up call?
  • Eric Christensen - almost more time in the penalty box (4:00) than on the ice (4:45). He didn't play after leaving the ice following his second penalty.
  • Evgeni Malkin - I know he had two assists and played better, but he also didn't play after the questionable penalty on him midway through the third. He could be dominant if he could get things figured out.
The Pens still looked like they were outplayed for large stretches of the game. We'll see how things look at the Igloo tomorrow. They need to win. Preview will be up later.

Next up: the Sens visit the Igloo for a Sunday night contest. Game time is 6:00 on FSN.

1 comment:

john said...

Did you hear Roberts' comment during that Sid-miked-up segment? Sid said something about how he didn't see Roberts, who replied, "Well, with my speed, that'll happen." Pretty funny.