Monday, April 14, 2008

Penguins 4, Senators 1

Another terrific performance by Marc-Andre Fleury and two quick goals to start the third led the Pens to their third straight win over the Sens in the series. They're now up 3-0, and the Sens are just about finished.

The fans in Ottawa really distinguished themselves by throwing garbage on the ice during the third period and leaving the arena in droves during the later part of the third. Way to go, Ottawa!!

If the Pens can keep the offense rolling at four goals per game, they'll be hard to beat. The biggest priority right now is to finish off the Sens. They showed a killer instinct tonight by finishing off the Sens late. Now the need to do it one more time on Wednesday.

To the recap!

First period:

The Sens came out and showed everyone they weren't cooked yet. Alfredsson and Spezza were both flying during the first, especially Alfie.

Unfortunately for them, they also showed the world their IQ hasn't improved either when Chris Neil took an absolutely stupid penalty punching Kris Letang in the face. The Pens weren't able to do anything with the chance, but I think it helped them get their legs going a bit.

The Sens were the recipients of a power play, but they also couldn't do anything with it.

The Sens spent a bunch of time in the Penguins' end of the ice in the first half of the period. They were able to get their forecheck going, and the Pens couldn't answer by getting the puck deep. Fortunately for the Pens, Marc-Andre was up to the challenge, making several great saves.

The Pens started to turn the tide in the second half of the first period. They were able to work the puck down deep more, and play changed to an up and down style with each team getting chances.

Both goalies were superb in the first, with Gerber making several great saves on the second power play of the Pens, and Fleury being stellar for the first 20 minutes.

The Pens got out of the first without allowing a goal. They weathered the storm and put themselves in position to take the lead with a few good breaks.

Second period:

Both teams continued to play their game in the second period. Neither team really had the advantage, but the Pens were successful in spending time in the Senators' zone. Staal's line was especially effective matched against Alfredsson and Spezza. They spent significant time in the Ottawa zone, not only putting pressure on Gerber but also keeping the potent Sens out of the offensive zone.

Foligno opened the scoring by pressuring Ryan Whitney as he tried to handle a bouncing puck. Whitney probably should have played the man instead of the puck with Foligno that close to him, but bad bounces happen. Foligno had a short walk to be all alone with Fleury. He beat Flower. 1-0 Senators.

Talbot tied the game when the Pens moved from the stationary breakout through all five players on the ice with Talbot finishing off the play by opening the pads of Gerber. Somehow I feel dirty writing that. Anyway, I can't imagine it's done any better in practice.

The only troubling thing about the second is that the Pens had nearly four minutes of power play time. They got close, but they weren't able to score. They need power play goals on the road, and they haven't been able to get one to this point. You just had the feeling the Sens would get their turn on the power play.

Speaking of the Sens, they're really stupid with the penalties they took. A cross check to the head is pretty obvious (Vermette). Just plain dumb.

Third period:

Crosby wasted no time, winning the faceoff, drawing the puck back and taking off up ice. He took the return pass down the left side. Commodore had pinched, leaving Vermette standing still. Sid blew past him like he wasn't there and walked in on Gerber in a two on one. He kept the puck and shot it right over the stick side glove of Gerber. 2-1 Pens.

Just over one minute later, Ruutu dumps the puck cross corner. Kennedy gets there first and makes a great pass to Staal who was cutting to the net. Jordan deflected the puck right past Gerber, who didn't help himself by not stopping the pass across his crease. 3-1 Pens.

Just over 30 seconds later, Chris Neil shows that the Sens still haven't learned by punching Hal Gill after Fleury had frozen the puck. The Sens had put some heat on Flower, but Neil totally took it away. Great job, Chris.

The ensuing power play was a shooting gallery. I can't remember the last time the Penguins absolutely cut loose for nearly two minutes. Gerber was up to the challenger, and Sarge missed wide on a few shots. The Sens looked completely demoralized.

Not long after that, the Pens held off the Sens on another scrum around the net, but Whitney took a penalty. The Sens went on the power play, but Heatley was called for an unfortunate high stick when Staal lifted Heatley's stick into his own face, drawing blood. Bad break for the Sens.

What wasn't a bad break was Stillman, on the same sequence, putting his stick out and tripping Malone drawing a second minor on the Sens and putting the Pens on the power play. Heatley's penalty was bad luck. The Stillman penalty was lazy. Cory tried to say Malone dove - here's an idea: try moving your feet and you won't have to worry about any trip / dive.

During the power play sequence after that, Hossa gathered the garbage and punched it in for his first goal of the playoffs. 4-1 Pens.

The Sens were done at that point. It was game over.

Next up: A chance to close it out in Ottawa on Wednesday. Maybe they can take a different photo for posterity this time.


The Big K said...

Swiss Cheese Gerber!

Pat said...

@big k - yeah - he did allow a few in the third there, didn't he? maybe he'll be nice and let in a few more on wednesday

The Big K said...

Yeah Gerber is not as good as some would say.
And I'm tired of him moaning after EVERY goal.
What was wrong with Hossa's goal.

Plus the Pens could have had one more with 58.
But the whistle blew for no reason.

Dominant performance.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see the CBC coverage of this game? And if so, did it sound to you like the play-by-play announcer spent whole game calling #87 "Cosby"? I'm hoping it was just my ears...