Penguins knot series with 1-0 Game 2 victory over Senators

Joan Terry
May 18, 2017

The Senators moved their record to 6-1 in overtime in these playoffs and have taken a 1-0 series lead. Behind a strong third period, Ottawa outshot Pittsburgh 35-28 in Game 1.

Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) knocks the puck out of the crease against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Monday, May 15, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

After dropping game one of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to bounce back in game two against the Ottawa Senators.

Evgeni Malkin's goal late in the third period forced overtime, but the defending Stanley Cup champions struggled to generate any consistent pressure.

A very different challenge awaits in the Eastern Conference final in what amounts to the hockey equivalent of switching from boxing to MMA.

"I think you've got to play the way that gets you here", Crosby said. "That's exactly what they want".

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been in this situation before. The Senators' defense is created to force the Penguins and their waves of highly skilled playmakers into making sloppy mistakes.

"There's a lot of things to like but it's just one game", Boucher said.

We know utilizing their speed is the Pens' best bet to get some offensive zone time. It also provided some early hope for the Senators that they might be able to find some openings in the softest part of the Penguins lineup. The Ducks have built their season on a remarkable resilience, but they realize they probably can't make another tardy start in Game 2 on Sunday night against Nashville, the Stanley Cup playoffs' best team so far.

Fleury and Kessel shared the spotlight, especially after the right winger finally figured out Anderson. Whether this strategy can be sustained playing against so much talent remains to be seen. They're not simply happy to be here. We're not going to hang our heads if we don't have success.

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Then again, so do the Penguins. They've already faced plenty of adversity in these playoffs - injuries, ridiculous playoff seeding, injuries...injuries - but one thing they haven't faced yet is how how to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit in a series. It's an opportunity that provides all the adrenaline necessary to overcome any sort of physical or emotional fatigue.

"We're expecting Crosby at his best the next game and Malkin and Kessel and those guys, and it's going to be very, very, very, very hard", Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said.

Pittsburgh possesses the better roster, but still has to play the games.

Of course, that dramatic goal wound up being moot, as the game ended five minutes into overtime with Ryan's score. Kessel's wrist shot on Monday, however, was enough to give the Penguins momentum heading north.

Kessel's goal came at 13:05 of the third period to break up a goaltending duel between Anderson and Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury. "So it's really about an investment, emotionally and otherwise, into this new challenge, and I think our guys are excited to play".

For long stretches, it felt like the game could have been played in mid-December instead of mid-May, which was just fine by Ottawa.

It's safe to say the Senators executed their defensive plan nearly perfectly against the Penguins in Game 1.

"Right now it's about Pittsburgh and Ottawa, our team against their team", Methot said. "We understand this is going to be a hard-fought series". "If not, much like [Game 1], they won't get much going and their offense will struggle and allow Ottawa to generate their unsafe transition game". Nicholle is in Florida and will undergo a PET scan later this month to gauge her progress. "They can slow it down, they can accelerate", said Boucher. "Guys have been so resilient this year".

Not what the black and yellow expected from the hot-starting Penguins of the past two series.

Penguins - D T. Daley (Questionable, lower body), LW C. Hagelin (Questionable, lower body), D K. Letang (Out For Season, neck).

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