Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Senators 2, Penguins 1

The game is over and I'm wanting to flip the channel to something else. Actually, I think that ANYTHING else will be good, just to help get past the downer that was the hockey game. I flip over to the USA Network, and the movie Unbreakable is on.

I think that title is a great way to describe how the Senators must have felt to the Penguins tonight. The Pens did everything they could to win this game.
  • They fixed the problems with the breakout passes, largely by swinging the puck from side to side and hitting a forward through the middle.
  • They absolutely dominated the second period, which had been their downfall earlier in the series.
  • They received great goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury.
  • They stayed out of the penalty box and got great penalty killing when they were on the ice.
Unfortunately, the game came down to a flukey goal by Spezza which bounced off of Staal's stick, and the second goal of the season by Volchenkov. It was a great shot for someone who never scores.

The Pens had all the momentum in the world in the second period, but just couldn't manage to take the lead. Once the Sens had the lead in the third, the Pens had a few chances, but couldn't do anything against Emery.

They left nothing in reserve tonight. They gave everything, but it just didn't get them over the top.

Who came to play tonight?
  • Everyone!
  • Jarkko Ruutu and Ronald Petrovicky - they were a big part of getting things going in the second period. I was mildly surprised that we didn't see them more than once in the third period.
  • Gary Roberts - his forecheck directly led to another goal by Staal.
  • Jordan Staal - this guy has absolutely stepped up his game. He doesn't have the best passing skills yet, but he can cycle the puck, kill penalties and put in the loose pucks in front of the net.
  • Sidney Crosby - just when you think he's topped out, he goes to another level. He split the D several times tonight and created chances where there were none. He needs to keep raising the ante if the Pens hope to get back to Pittsburgh for Game 6.
Who stayed out in the cold?
  • The power play unit - they generated some good chances, but just couldn't beat Emery. They probably could have worked for some better shots, but they did okay with what they tried.
  • Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo - I'm left wondering about not playing Ruutu and Petrovicky more than one shift in the third. I'm also wondering why they didn't change things up on the power play in terms of the scheme they deployed. The Senators had it figured out. Also, dressing Eckman in place of Christensen? I'd rather see Christensen simply because he has a better wrister than anyone on the team, and can contribute offensively at crunch time.
The Pens have their backs against the wall. In truth, I think this might be too much of a wall for them to climb, but I think it'll be fun to watch them try.

Next up: a return to Ottawa on Thursday night to try to stay alive.


Anonymous said...

I think you meant Jordan Staal, not Eric Staal. However Eric did make an appearance last night.

Pat said...

You're absolutely right - I have to quit drinking :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm. . . I don't know if it will be "fun" to watch (nerve wracking comes to mind!), but I'll be watching nonetheless. . .

Will said...

By far the best the Pens have played this post season. Emery made some huge saves in the 2nd to keep the Sens in it. Pens looked like the better team for the first time this season but that fluke goal in the 1st came back to haunt them. I'm hoping that they will really open up next game and play with some desperation. I agree that it may be too much to come back, but winning the next game would be a big character boost going forward.

Pat said...

Will - I think if they can win tomorrow, that could catapult them to a Game 7... but I don't want to get ahead of myself just yet

Teej said...

Distant possibility, but if the Pens pull out a good OT victory, that could also spearhead them towards a 7th game. Overtime is what the playoffs are all about!

I was at last night's game... unbelievable atmosphere. That goal by Spezza keeps replaying in my mind. Terrible bounce.